News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. July 1, 2011: The U.S. government this week presented its sentencing recommendation to a D.C. Court judge in its case against the Jamaican-born publisher of the New York-based Carib News paper, Karl Rodney.
Rodney could walk or face up to six months in jail under the recommendation presented on Wednesday, June 29th by U.S. Justice Department lawyers.
According to Court records obtained by New Americas, “the Probation Office correctly calculated the adjusted offense level under the Guidelines for a felony charge of making false statements in violation of (U.S. laws) (making) …the advisory sentencing range for the defendant’s offense is therefore a 0 to 6-month sentence,” the recommendation states.
But the memorandum presented to the judge by Jack Smith, Chief of the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ, calls for a sentence within the guidelines that would reflect the serious “nature and circumstances of the offense” as well the need “to promote respect for the law” and “to afford adequate deterrence.”
“The defendant’s offense has serious implications for the public, undermining public confidence in elected representatives and in the legitimacy of Members’ travel on official business,” added the memo. “Furthermore, the defendant showed substantial disrespect for the law when, after filing false statements in two distinct Sponsor Forms, he continued to conceal the funding for Member trips by ‘falsely testifying’ before the subcommittee, under oath when confronted by the Ethics Committee.
“Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence should adequately address the seriousness of the offense as well as promote deterrence among other private sponsors of Member travel who may be tempted to conceal funding received from prohibited sources.”
On March 14, 2011, Rodney pleaded guilty to one count of lying to congress. Federal prosecutors say over the course of two years, Rodney, repeatedly deceived Members of Congress and the Ethics Committee about the source of funding for trips to his conferences in the Caribbean organized by his Carib News Foundation. Specifically, they say, he submitted forms certifying that his foundation was the sole sponsor of the Members’ trips to the conferences when, in fact, as the defendant well knew, the trips were paid for by foreign governments.
In addition, in 2007, he gave Members airline tickets that were provided by a prohibited corporate source. Further, the feds say when Rodney was confronted by the Ethics Committee about the funding for the trips; he continued to conceal the true source of funding.
The United States House of Representatives issued new funding and disclosure requirements in 2007.
On June 24, 2009, the Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the funding of Member travel to Rodney’s conferences in 2007 and 2008 and found that he “submitted false information to the [Ethics] Committee and to the Members invited to attend the 2007 and 2008 conferences on multiple occasions,” and that he “falsely testified before the Subcommittee, under oath, when he stated that he informed the Government of Antigua they would not be paying for the lodging used by the Members’ and that Carib News paid for the Members lodging.”
The Standards Committee referred the matter to the Department of Justice for further investigation and, on March 14, 2011, Rodney copped a plea deal that spared his wife, Faye Rodney, prosecution.