Ex-Senate aide faces jail for violating probation

A former aide to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran convicted in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal is facing 10 weekends in jail after bringing a steak knife to a halfway house.

Ann Copland’s attorney, Drewry Hutcheson Jr., said in a telephone interview that his client didn’t mean to bring a weapon into the facility where she was ordered to spend 75 days on a corruption charge. Hutcheson says Copland’s husband, concerned she wasn’t getting enough to eat in the halfway house, brought her a steak to eat in the car while taking her to an Oct. 20 psychiatrist appointment, and she inadvertently left the knife and fork in her pocketbook when she returned.

Copland was kicked out of the halfway house in violation of her probation. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay recommended the jail time Tuesday as a substitute for the remainder of her sentence, but it must be approved by a U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts, who also could revoke her probation and sentence her to prison.