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U.S. scandal resulting from an investigation begun in 1978 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI created a front (Abdul Enterprises, Ltd., hence, Abscam) for its agents, who, posing as associates of an Arab sheik, offered selected public officials money or other considerations in exchange for special favors. The videotaped meetings resulted in the indictments (1980) and convictions of one senator and four congressmen on charges including bribery and conspiracy; another congressman was convicted on lesser charges. The FBI's tactics raised questions about entrapmententrapment,
in law, the instigation of a crime in the attempt to obtain cause for a criminal prosecution. Situations in which a government operative merely provides the occasion for the commission of a criminal act (e.g.
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, and the conviction of Florida Rep. Richard Kelly was overturned (1982).
References in periodicals archive ?
The plot of the film, starring Christian Bale in the Weinberg role, centres on Abscam, a fake firm used to lure politicians known to be corrupt.
STING Above, Senator Williams is caught in the FBI's Abscam operation.
The most extensive focus of the committee's inquiry was on the FBI's Abscam operation, which lasted from early 1978 through January 1980, and resulted in the criminal conviction of one Senator, six Members of the House of Representatives, several local officials, and others.
troops out of Iraq was on an FBI surveillance tape during the 1980 Abscam investigation.
We haven't seen that much overt evidence since the Abscam days of the 1970s, when several Representatives were caught taking similar sums in suitcases offered by FBI undercover officers.
Notable have been Teapot Dome, Abscam and the Keating Five savings and loan debacle.
Consider, for example, the statement of Abscam informant Mel
571 directed the attorney general to furnish the House with "all evidence compiled by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation against members of Congress in connection with the Abscam investigation," which was a Justice Department undercover operation that led to charges of criminal conduct against certain members of Congress.
Who can forget the FBI agent dressing up as a sheik and trying to purchase political favor in Abscam, or Marion Barry taking a drag on a crack pipe in a Washington, D.
The Tolchins describe the Abscam investigation of the late 1970s and early 1980s and the Keating savings and loan case of the early 1990s as classic examples of unethical behavior that the accused maintained were just instances of constituent service.
Bennett, a partner with the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Florn, brings the perspective of a former outside counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee, working investigations such as Abscam and the Keating Five.
The Abscam sting operation at the end of the Jimmy Carter years netted numerous federal officials willing to take money in exchange for favors from immigration officials.