The case, which went to the jury this afternoon after four hours of closing arguments and three weeks of trial, explored relationships between Justice Department officials and Team Abramoff...
Ring is accused of plying public officials with meals and tickets to sporting events and concerts in return for advancing the interests of his clients — by inserting projects in appropriations bills, drafting legislation and applying pressure where needed. He is charged with conspiracy, honest services wire fraud and giving illegal gratuities. Of the 20 or so former lobbyists, executive officials and congressional aides tripped up by the Abramoff probe, Ring is only the second defendant to opt for a trial.
The case also involved Ashcroft's chief of staff in the Attorney General's office, David Ayres, whom the government alleged ultimately made a decision to award a grant for one of Ring’s tribal clients. Ayres chose to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and not testify in the case.
Ayres is currently the CEO of Ashcroft’s consulting firm, The Ashcroft Group, where former Speaker Catherine Hanaway is a Partner and former Governor Matt Blunt is a Senior Advisor.