The ABSCAM Investigation: Use and Abuse of Entrapment and Due Process Defenses

32 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2015

Date Written: March 1, 1984


From 1977 through 1980 the Federal Bureau of Investigation devised an elaborate scheme designed to provide opportunities for illegal conduct by public officials who were predisposed to political corruption. The scheme involved the creation of a fictitious corporation named "Abdul Enterprises," purportedly headed by Sheik Yassir Habib of Abu Dhabi, whose desire it was to invest in and immigrate to the United States. The FBI named this operation "ABSCAM" after the first two letters of "Abdul" and the word "scam." Following the investigation, grand juries handed down indictments involving twenty-six defendants. Despite both distinguishable fact patterns and varied legal strategies, every ABSCAM defendant asserted either the defense of entrapment or a violation of due process or both. None of these defenses proved successful. This note details ABSCAM's inherent improprieties as they relate to the defenses of entrapment and violation of due process and explore how similar investigations in the future should be conducted so as to protect innocent individuals from these improprieties. It is submitted that the convictions which resulted from the ABSCAM investigation may have been due not only to the guilt of the defendants, but also to the current state of the iaw of entrapment and due process and to the particular structure of the ABSCAM investigation.

Keywords: Entrapment, Due Process, Criminal Defense

Suggested Citation

Verrone, Patric M, The ABSCAM Investigation: Use and Abuse of Entrapment and Due Process Defenses (March 1, 1984). Boston College Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 351, 1984, Available at SSRN: or

Patric M Verrone (Contact Author)

Calloo Callay, Inc. ( email )

P.O. Box 1428
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
United States

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