[JURIST] Former US Justice Department official Robert Coughlin II pleaded guilty [press release] Tuesday to one count of criminal conflict of interest in connection to his relationship with disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive]. Coughlin, charged [JURIST report] on Monday, served as the deputy chief of staff of the DOJ's Criminal Division [official website] before resigning last year. He has admitting to accepting tickets to sporting events and other gifts from Abramoff's lobbying firm between 2001-2003 while working in legislative affairs for the Justice Department. According to the DOJ's press release, Coughlin could be sentenced to a maximum five years and prison and be fined $250,000. AP has more.
Abramoff pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in January 2006 to two conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from the 2000 purchase of the SunCruz Casino as part of a plea agreement [PDF text] with federal prosecutors that would reduce his punishment in exchange for favorable testimony in future DOJ corruption cases.