Contributions at issue in ex-lobbyist's appeal

AP News
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 12:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Appeals court judges reviewing the conviction of former lobbyist Kevin Ring in the Abramoff scandal are questioning whether evidence of campaign contributions should have been allowed at his trial.

Ring, who worked under superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for giving meals and event tickets to public officials. The trial judge allowed evidence of legal campaign contributions, which prosecutors said showed how Ring gained access to public officials. But the judge also told jurors they could not consider the contributions as part of the "illegal stream of benefits" Ring was charged with providing officials.

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Judge David S. Tatel said the campaign contributions were of some value in making the case. But he also questioned whether that was outweighed by the prejudicial or confusing effect to jurors.