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The Blotter II

Two upcoming court dates will keep the influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the headlines just before the midterms, says NBC's Joel Seidman.  This Friday, former Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio is scheduled to enter formal guilty pleas to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in trips, meals and other gifts in exchange for taking official action on behalf of Abramoff's clients.  And on October 27, former White House official David Safavian is scheduled to be sentenced on lying and obstruction-of-justice charges relating to a golf junket to Scotland he took with Abramoff and Ney.

With jury selection beginning today in the criminal trial of Ohio coin-dealer Tom Noe, a liberal group has released a video linking Noe with several Republicans running for statewide office, the Columbus Dispatch reports.