Former Rep. Bob Ney faces the music

Former Rep. Bob Ney, who resigned in October after pleading guilty to corruption charges, faces more than two years in prison for his role in a congressional bribery scandal.

The Ohio Republican, the first congressman ensnared in the case, has admitted trading political action for golf trips, tickets, meals and campaign donations from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney is due in court Friday and has asked U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle not to sentence him to more than two years in prison. Federal prosecutors say the Abramoff scheme was wider than Ney acknowledges and that he should receive a 27-month sentence.

Ney is also asking Huvelle to rule that his corruption was influenced by alcohol addiction. His lawyers asked that the six-term lawmaker be recommended for a prison drug abuse program, which could make him eligible for release in about a year.

When he agreed to plead guilty, Ney apologized to his constituents and said he was checking into an alcohol treatment program.

Abramoff, once an influential lobbyist, is the star witness in an FBI corruption investigation that has shaken Capitol Hill. He is serving prison time for a fraudulent Florida casino deal.

Ney’s plea in the election-year scandal drew criticism from Republican congressional leaders and the White House. White House spokesman Tony Snow said Ney’s criminal activity “is not a reflection of the Republican Party.”

Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. He is the latest in a string of men convicted in a scandal that so far has caught several lobbyists and two members of the Bush administration.

The gifts Ney received ranged from a trip to Scotland bankrolled by Abramoff’s clients to thousands of dollars in gambling chips Ney got on two overseas junkets from foreign businessman Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian-born aviation company owner in Cyprus.

“I allowed myself to get too comfortable with the way things have been done in Washington, D.C., for too long,” Ney said in a written statement after his previous court appearance.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press