September 11, 2008
Abramoff receives new four-year sentence, Phoenix community leader murdered
Jewish lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years in prison. Abramoff had pleaded guilty to corruption and tax offenses related to influence peddling involving Republican congressmen and midlevel Bush administration officials, some of whom were convicted.
The prosecution noted Abramoff's cooperation in helping to build cases against some 10 other officials in recommending that he be given a reduced term, largely to motivate others to cooperate with investigators.
However, on Sept. 4, Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in Washington sentenced Abramoff to nine months more than the 39-month term suggested by prosecutors, citing the erosion of the public's trust in government that Abramoff's activities generated.
Wearing a yarmulke, Abramoff offered a wrenching apology to the court, saying, "I have fallen into an abyss," according to the reports. "My name is the butt of a joke." Abramoff currently is serving a two-year prison term in an unrelated fraud case.
Prominent Jewish Activist in Phoenix Slain
A prominent Jewish activist in Phoenix, Irving Shuman, 84, was murdered at his office on Sept. 2.
Shuman's body was found Tuesday evening at his real estate office after he failed to show up for a dinner appointment, according to the Arizona Republic. His car was also stolen.
Shuman, who was active in Jewish organizations and pro-Israel lobbies, had received several honors, including the Tree of Life award by the Jewish National Fund in Arizona and the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix's Medal of Honor.
"Irv Shuman was a man of exceptional values," said Rabbi Ariel Shoshan, who studied with Shuman and other Phoenix executives on Thursdays, according to the Republic. "He lived for causes like the well-being of Israel and the furtherance of Jewish education and was an active supporter of over 100 charities."
Shuman's gold Lexus was recovered in San Bernardino this week.