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After paying for a high-priced criminal defense by Chadbourne & Parke’s Abbe Lowell in the government’s corruption probe, former �ber-lobbyist-turned-jailbird Jack Abramoff is taking a different approach in two lawsuits filed against him by Indian tribes. This time around, Abramoff is representing himself against former client Louisiana Coushatta Tribe and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. So far, Abramoff has piggybacked on motions filed by lawyers for former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed and former Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon in the Texas case. Lowell did not return calls. Abramoff may be using the law library from the minimum-security federal prison in Cumberland, Md., where he is serving almost six years for a fraud conviction separate from the corruption probe. It’s extremely rare for prisoners to defend themselves pro se, according to the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prisoner Project. The logistics could get tricky with Abramoff unable to travel for depositions. But the tactic could get him out of prison chores like kitchen duty or carpentry while he is doing legal research. “It’s Jack Abramoff. What else can you say? The guy believes in himself,” says Barbara Van Gelder of Wiley Rein & Fielding, who represented David Safavian, the former White House official convicted in June in connection with Abramoff.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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