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April 21, 2011 1:01 PM

Judge Orders Former Abramoff Aide to Pay Greenberg Traurig $17.7 Million

Posted by Brian Baxter

The last time we checked in on disgraced lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff, he was working in a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore.

The former Greenberg Traurig partner moved on in early December--the pizza gig was part of his work release--just before a movie about Abramoff starring Kevin Spacey hit the big screen to mixed reviews.

Now sibling publication The National Law Journal reports that a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that Michael Scanlon, a public affairs specialist who worked with Abramoff on Native American casino issues, cannot challenge Greenberg Traurig's request that he pay $17.7 million in restitution to the firm for money it distributed to victims in a fraud scheme.

Scanlon was sentenced to 20 months in prison back in February for his role bilking a group of Native American tribes out of $20 million, according to The NLJ. Many of the tribes have sued Greenberg Traurig or threatened to sue the firm over the scheme orchestrated by Scanlon and Abramoff. The NLJ reports that Scanlon's lawyers--led by Ropes & Gray's Stephen Braga--have argued that Greenberg Traurig had prior knowledge of certain fees Scanlon was paying Abramoff.

Greenberg Traurig, represented by Williams & Connolly's Kevin Downey, has fought Scanlon in court over his restitution challenge, as previously reported by The NLJ. On Wednesday evening, U.S. district court judge Royce Lamberth delivered a six-page ruling barring Scanlon from pursuing an objection to the restitution request.

The NLJ reported last month the Justice Department declined to take a position on whether Greenberg Traurig is entitled to compensation from Scanlon. Federal prosecutors never charged the firm in Abramoff's fraud scheme and never designated the firm as an unindicted coconspirator, according to The NLJ.

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