Key Witness in Lobbying Probe Spared Prison, Sentenced to Halfway House

An environmental advocate who provided Jack Abramoff's entree into the Interior Department was sentenced Friday to two months in a halfway house and four years probation.

Italia Federici, who pleaded guilty in June to tax evasion and obstructing a Senate investigation, was spared prison only because she has become a key witness in the Justice Department's ongoing corruption investigation.

Federici has admitted acting as a link between Abramoff and Griles J. Steven Griles, the former deputy Interior Department secretary who for five years was her boyfriend. Griles provided Abramoff with advice and internal agency information, sometimes directly and sometimes through Federici.

Defense attorney Jonathan N. Rosen characterized Federici as an idealistic and sometimes naive woman who was manipulated by the two powerful men.

"Each man had his own agenda and each man used her for their own pleasure and gain," Rosen said.