Judge keeps secret prosecutors’ PowerPoint used in plea talks with ex-lobbyist

McClatchy Washington BureauJune 10, 2014 

A federal judge on Tuesday declined to unseal the prosecutors' PowerPoint demonstration used in plea negotiations with former lobbyist Kevin Ring.

Ring, a one-time associate of Jack Abramoff, is now serving a 20-month prison sentence following a lengthy court battle that featured definite hardball by prosecutors. Ring sought to make public the prosecutors’ PowerPoint in order, he said, to “educate the public about how pleas and charging

decisions can work and how prosecutors’ actions can affect the criminal justice process.”

Reading between the lines, the PowerPoint would presumably show tough tactics by prosecutors putting the squeeze on a white-collar defendant.

In particular, Ring and his attorneys seek to demonstrate what they and others have called the “trial penalty,” referring to prosecutors making defendants who go to trial pay with higher sentences.

Prosecutors asked that Ring be given a 20-year sentence, after he was convicted in the second go-around following a hung jury in his first trial. More than one skeptic has denounced prosecutors for going too far.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle rejected Ring’s arguments, in a six-page opinion.

“Because the PowerPoint presentation was not filed with the court, was not admitted into

evidence, and did not play a role in the adjudicatory process, neither a common law nor First

Amendment right of access attaches,” Huvelle reasoned.

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