Judge rejects appeal by Abramoff's former partner

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Ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's former partner in crime shouldn't expect relief on his appeal to reduce a $20 million restitution order.

The chief of the federal appeals court in Washington, Judge David Sentelle, told Michael Scanlon's lawyer at arguments Monday the court cannot change his client's plea agreement. The court will issue its final order in writing.

Scanlon is serving a 20-month sentence for bilking Indian tribes of millions. Abramoff persuaded the tribes that hired him for lobbying to pay inflated fees for Scanlon's public relations services, and they secretly split the profits.

Scanlon pleaded guilty in part to defrauding the tribal clients of their right to "honest services." The Supreme Court weakened the honest services law last year and Scanlon argues the restitution should be lowered to reflect that ruling.

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