Jack AbramoffJackAbramoff

What was the accusation?

On January 3, 2006, famed political lobbyist “Casino Jack” Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts of “conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion” involving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes. In a tearful apology in court, he claimed to be a “broken man” and mourned the loss of his reputation.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Corrective Action, Bolstering

Transcript of Abramoff’s Courtroom Apology

THE DEFENDANT: Thank you, Your Honor.

Your Honor, I come before you today as a broken man. I’m not the same person who happily and arrogantly engaged in a lifestyle of political corruption and business corruption and the rest. I’ve been thinking for years at this point about what to say to you today. And I’ve written about 15 versions of what to say, and I even have notes here. And I don’t think I can get through them too well.

So if it’s okay, if I could just speak for a few minutes from my heart and just tell you how horrible I feel that I’ve had to bring together in the storm today, my friends and family because of such a situation. And I’m a — [ass] for what I did that was wrong, not only to my clients who I loved and my partners, my friends, and especially my family, but to all those who I have caused suffering to.

I have had many hundreds of sleepless nights since I’ve come to acknowledge and recognize what I did over the course of my misconduct. And this recognition has been weighing heavily on me, one that led me to approach the Justice Department and the officials to admit what I did was wrong, and to agree to help in any way I could to make it right.

And I want more than life itself to try to do what I can to make things right. I know that I may not have enough years to make things right and I certainly may not have enough time to ever get my name or reputation back. But at least I want to try.

And the pain for me and my family has been intense and incomprehensible. I regret in every fiber of my being what I put my beloved children and my wife and my parents and my mother’s blessed memory through, let alone those that I have caused harm to. And I wish with all my power that I could undo what I did do, those things that I did do that were wrong.

I’ve had time to think about how did it come to this. How did it come to this? I certainly was given every advantage growing up. I had what I thought were the right values and aims and goals.

And perhaps it was out of an arrogant self righteousness, wanting the things I thought were right to happen, and slowly losing bearing, losing track of the means to make those things happen and allowing corruption and bad behavior and things that ran right to the core — against the core of what I did believe to take over all in an effort to believe that the ends would justify the means, and they don’t. And I know they don’t. And I regret, I will regret for the final days of my life.

I have fallen into an abyss, Your Honor, I don’t quite know how to get out. My name is the butt of a joke, the source of laughs, the title of scandals, the synonym of perfidy. And I’m not sure that that will ever change.

I can only hope that I can try to make any kind of restitution possible for the rest of the days of my life to those that I have victimized; to heal my beloved family; to try to spend whatever time I’m given by you to do whatever good I can in prison with my fellow inmates, and hope that this horrible nightmare ends at some point.

And I beg Your Honor to consider all of the things that you’ve heard today in rendering your judgment as to how much longer I need to be away from my family and my community and this society. I appreciate the time you’ve had to spent on this case and all the cases that relate to it. And I’m sorry, so sorry that I put everyone through all this.

Thank you, Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right. Mr. Abramoff, if you would remain standing, the Court is ready to proceed.


Lewis, N. A. (2008, September 4). Abramoff gets 4 years in prison for corruption. New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/05/washington/05abramoff.html?mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=08B54D0B73719171303E28F33B933677&gwt=pay

Lobbyist admits to kickbacks, fraud (2006, January 3). CNN. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/03/abramoff.plea/

Schmidt, S., & Grimaldi, J. V. (2006, January 4). Abramoff pleads guilty to 3 counts. Washington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/03/AR2006010300474.html