Abramoff Protege on Trial

The Times reports on Kevin Ring’s trial here.

Ring is making a rare and bold move in putting his case before a jury, considering the public’s distaste for the influence of lobbyists and the cache of Ring’s often sarcastic and chummy e-mails that prosecutors plan to use against him.

Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who has represented lobbyists and has written a handbook on gift rules, said the Supreme Court has found that gift-giving shouldn’t be a crime unless it can be directly connected to an official action.

”It’s just how business is done in the world, not just in Washington, but the world,” she said. ”Getting to know people in a social setting — not just a business setting — that’s how the world works in real life.”

But she acknowledged Ring is taking a risk.

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