Former Interior deputy pleads guilty to lying in Abramoff investigation

The second in command at the U.S. Interior Department in Bush’s first term has pleaded guilty to telling big, fat lies to the Senate during the Jack Abramoff lobbying investigation. That’s what the kids call obstruction of justice, and it could have netted J. Steven Griles up to five years in prison, but he’ll likely get five months in jail and five months of house arrest. When Gale Norton’s former deputy first testified in late 2005, he said — five times — that his and Jacko’s bond was nothing special. But it seems he was “ready and willing to serve as Jack Abramoff’s ‘man inside Interior,'” says Inspector General Earl Devaney. And having a man on the inside apparently helped Abramoff convince high-paying Native American clients that he had pull. Griles, says Friends of the Earth, “led a rogues’ gallery of oil, gas, and mining lobbyists turned political appointees who used their jobs at Interior to advance the agenda of their former industry clients.” Oh, our sweet, sullied innocence.