If you didn't get it, you don't know Jack

A few last words from Abramoff as he checked into federal prison.

Tim Grieve
November 17, 2006 12:34AM (UTC)

From the text of an e-mail message disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff sent to friends and family as he prepared to check himself into federal prison earlier this week:

"My dear friends,

"I hope that you will forgive the impersonal nature of this email. I write this to you on the eve of my incarceration. I am not sure how long I will be in prison, but hope that it is not too long before we have a chance to see each other again.


"First, I wanted to thank you for standing by Pam, the kids and me during this very difficult period. Unfortunately, things are going to get worse (starting today no doubt) before they get better, but I am confident that ultimately the turmoil will subside and we will have our lives back. One day, G-D willing, we will know why all of this had to happen. In the meantime, we soldier on, bolstered in no small measure by your friendship.

"Several friends have inquired as to how to stay in contact during this next phase. Though I am grateful for this interest and would of course be thrilled by any contact, I hope that no one will feel at all obligated to be in touch during this time. Having said that, here is the situation ..."

"Mail is probably the easiest way to stay in touch. Unfortunately, this means snail mail through the good old U.S. Post Office. The federal prison system permits inmates to receive letters, photos and periodicals, but that's pretty much it. Unfortunately, if anything else is sent, it will either be destroyed or returned to you. As for letters, please bear in mind that the authorities have the right (and in my case probably will use it) to read all incoming and outgoing mail. Also, I almost certainly will want to write back to you and, since I don't know whether they are going to limit our stamps, envelopes and paper, if possible, perhaps you could include a self addressed, stamped return envelope and even a blank sheet of paper in that envelope ..."

"Please know that I certainly understand that visiting me would be a tremendous hardship and I would in no way be offended if people chose to wait until my release before getting together ..."

"Like visits, telephone contact is also made difficult by the system. They permit up to 30 names on a call list and limit calls to no more than 15 minutes, with a grand total of 300 minutes per month. That's if you can get to a phone, of course. Like most federal prisons, Cumberland has far more inmates than the prison can hold. There are few phones available and long lines, so the likelihood of our chatting on the phone is not great unfortunately for me ... Please bear in mind ... that I am not permitted to conduct any ongoing business while in prison, and plan to be even stricter on myself than the rules require. Also, like the mail, the authorities have the right to listen to all telephone calls. Thanks ..."

"In closing, I hope that we will all have a chance to be together after all of this is over. This nightmare has gone on for almost three years so far and I expect we are not even half way through. I have learned more lessons in the past three years than I have my whole life, and I am hoping that my family and I can see the good in G-D's plan for us during these times and gain strength from it. I hope that He blesses you in all your endeavors and keeps you and your family safe.


"Yours faithfully,

"Jack Abramoff."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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