POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Former Aide Embroiled In Abramoff Scandal To Fight Charges

Horace Cooper, a former staffer for then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, said he will go to trial to fight charges that he accepted gifts from ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for official actions that would benefit Abramoff's clients, reports the National Journal.

Cooper was indicted today for allegedly accepting meals and tickets from Abramoff and his associates.

"We're here to fight the felony charges. We vehemently dispute them," Cooper's attorney, Solomon Wisenberg, said. "We look forward to our day in court."

Wisenberg would not confirm if Cooper had been offered a plea deal by the government.

The alleged crimes took place when Cooper served on Armey's staff as well as when he was chief of staff at Voice of America and at the Labor Department's Employment Standards Administration between 1998 and 2005.

In August, Cooper, 44, was charged with once count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent concealment, two counts of false statements, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, according to and FBI press release.

If the case goes to trial, Cooper will be only the third to face a jury for crimes associated with the Abramoff lobbying scandal.

A jury is currently in its eighth day of deliberations in the trial of Kevin Ring, a former associate of Abramoff who faces eight felony charges in connection to the scandal. According to the Legal Times's blog, a federal judge ordered yesterday that jurors continue deliberations after sending a note saying they were deadlocked on seven of the eight counts.