Guilty Plea Was Not To Drug Charge

Guilty Plea Was Not To Drug Charge
Posted by FoM on September 08, 1999 at 10:44:29 PT
Breaking News Section
Source: SF Gate
ALBANY, N.Y.A rabbi once honored as ``Rabbi of the Year'' by his colleagues admitted smuggling illegal items into a federal prison, though he denied intentionally carrying contraband drugs.
Eli Gottesman, 74, of Ogdensburg agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to defraud the government by bringing in items such as Stars of David, clothing, watches and food. Authorities said Gottesman tried to smuggle a shampoo bottle filled with cocaine and marijuana encased in balloons into the medium-security lockup at Ray Brook in the Adirondack Mountains. Gottesman insisted he knew nothing about drugs. ``The bottle was sent to me,'' he said. He was originally charged with attempting to provide contraband and could have been sentenced up to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000. If U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy accepts the plea agreement, Gottesman would be sentenced Jan. 5 to a year in prison or less. Gottesman, honored as ``Rabbi of the Year'' in 1987 by the New York Board of Rabbis, had worked as a contract employee at Ray Brook since 1991. Government employees are not supposed to bring anything into a prison, his lawyer, Brian Premo, said. The rabbi's contract was terminated after his arrest in October. (09-08) 08:27 PDT 
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