By Susan Crabtree - 07/20/09 06:08 PM EDT
A former Air Force contractor pleaded guilty Monday to a false statement and conflict-of-interest charge in a widening case involving several defense companies with ties to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).
After retiring from the Air Force in 2001, O’Hair became the senior electronic engineer with the Air Force Research Lab Munitions. Two years later, he became the contracts program manager for the Battlefield Airman program, which was designed to improve the military’s battlefield communications systems.
O’Hair is the second defense contractor is a week to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with a federal probe of earmarked contracts Murtha directed to several companies.
Last week, Richard Ianieri, the former chief executive of Coherent Systems International Corp., pleaded guilty to accepting $200,000 in kickbacks from companies that he directed work toward from a government contract. In 2007, Murtha directed a $4 million earmark to Coherent.
O’Hair’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October.