By James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 21, 2009; Page A02
A former legislative aide to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was accused yesterday of accepting more than $25,000 worth of meals and event tickets from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for helping his clients.
Ann M. Copland, 52, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud. The charge came in a criminal information, a document typically filed by prosecutors when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.
Prosecutors alleged that Copland, who worked for Cochran for 29 years until last year, used her position to try to persuade unidentified members of the legislative and executive branches to take actions, including "inserting, protecting, removing" items in spending bills. At the time, Cochran was a powerful member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he is now the ranking Republican. ...
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