February 9, 2007
Ney must report to minimum-security prison
by March 1
By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Copley Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ordered former
Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, convicted in a congressional bribery scandal
last year, to report to a federal minimum security prison in West
Virginia in less than three weeks.
U.S. District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle issued an order
Wednesday for Ney to surrender himself to Morgantown federal
prison by 2 p.m. March 1.
Ney, a Heath Republican, was sentenced to 30 months in prison
Jan. 19 after pleading guilty to conspiracy and making false
statements in connection with doing favors for lobbyists in return
The six-term lawmaker admitted to accepting thousands of
dollars’ worth of trips, free drinks and meals, tickets to
sporting events, and campaign donations from convicted lobbyist
Jack Abramoff and others.
The silver lining in the order for Ney, 53, is that the Bureau
of Prisons agreed to assign him to Morgantown, a minimum security
work camp about 180 miles from his home in Ohio.
Although Huvelle recommended that Ney be incarcerated at
Morgantown, located in a mountainous region of north central West
Virginia, the final decision was up to prison officials.
William E. Lawler III, Ney’s attorney, said the judge’s order
means prison officials have agreed to Morgantown.
Morgantown is an all-male facility that housed 1,245 inmates as
of Thursday. As a minimum security institution, it has dormitory
housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio and no fences,
according to prison officials.
Ney will spend his first week behind bars attending an
orientation program designed to teach him the rules and introduce
him to prison officials, Truman said.
His fellow inmates at the prison will include Richard Hatch,
the celebrated winner of the “Survivor” reality television show in
2000. Hatch has been serving time in Morgantown since his
conviction for income tax evasion last year.
Inmates at Morgantown typically are given jobs to help clean
and maintain the prison. They also are able to participate in
Ney, who has partially blamed alcohol abuse for his violation
of the law, also requested entry into a residential alcohol
rehabilitation program at Morgantown. Lawler said that is a
separate decision for prison officials to make.
Unlike some convicted lawmakers, such as former Rep. Randy
“Duke” Cunningham of California, who was convicted of bribery last
year, Ney is being allowed to deliver himself to the prison rather
than being taken there by U.S. marshals.
U.S. Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said decisions
about how a convict is transported to prison are made on a
case-by-case basis. It’s “not unusual” for someone with felonies
similar to Ney’s to be allowed to self-surrender, he said.
Lawler declined to comment on Ney’s current activities except
to say, “He’s doing fine.”