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Thursday, November 20, 2008
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Former Congressional Legislative Assistant Pleads Guilty to Failing to Report Thousands of Dollars in Illegal Gifts from Lobbyists

WASHINGTON – Trevor L. Blackann, 34, a former legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate, pleaded guilty today to making a false statement on his 2003 tax returns by failing to report as income thousands of dollars in illegal gifts that he received from lobbyists, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced. Blackann pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts in the District of Columbia.

According to court documents, Blackann was employed throughout 2003 as a legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. Senate. Blackann was responsible for advising and counseling the Senator on matters of legislative interest and representing the Senator in communications with other congressional offices and staff, officials in the executive branch and members of the public.

During his plea, Blackann admitted that he received things of value worth thousands of dollars from three lobbyists in 2003, including a free trip to attend the first game of the 2003 baseball World Series. According to court documents, the World Series trip included airline travel to and from New York City, transportation around New York City in a chauffeured sport utility vehicle, a ticket to game one of the World Series, a souvenir baseball jersey, admission to and entertainment at a gentlemen’s club following the game, and free meals and drinks.

In his plea, Blackann admitted knowing that the World Series trip and other tickets, meals and drinks provided by the lobbyists were given to him for, or because of, official action the lobbyists were seeking from Blackann. Blackann also admitted understanding that he had a duty to report the value of things he received from lobbyists as income on his 2003 U.S. income tax return.

The case is part of the ongoing investigation into the lobbying activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates. Fifteen individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty or are awaiting trial as a result of the investigation, including Abramoff who was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys M. Kendall Day and Peter C. Sprung of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Section Chief William M. Welch II. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, with assistance from Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.