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Former Bush Administration Official Sentenced in Lobbying Scandal


A U.S. judge has sentenced a former high ranking Bush administration official to 10 months in prison for lying to Congress about his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The district judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington Tuesday ordered J. Steven Griles to pay a $30,000 fine and serve three years of probation following his release from prison. She said Griles had refused to take responsibility for his actions and had attempted to excuse his conduct.

Griles served as deputy secretary of the Interior Department between 2001 and 2005, during President Bush's first term in office.

He pleaded guilty in March to lying before the U.S. Senate's Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 when he told lawmakers he had "no special relationship" with Abramoff.

Abramoff is serving a federal prison sentence of nearly six years, after pleading guilty last year to corruption charges involving key Republican politicians.

Federal prosecutors said Griles met Abramoff in 2001 through a Republican environmental activist with close ties to former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

Griles was accused of acting on behalf of Abramoff's Native American tribal clients at the Interior Department.

He is the highest ranking Bush administration official sentenced in the corruption probe involving Abramoff.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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