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Actor Jeremy Renner attends the “American Hustle” premiere in New York in this file photo from Dec. 8. A fictional film built around the real-life Abscam scandal that led to the conviction of a U.S. senator and six congressmen last week won the New York Film Critics Circle award for best film of 2013 and a best supporting actress prize for Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence. (Reuters photo)

‘American Hustle’ starts with Abscam facts, then adds fiction

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By Richard Leiby

The Washington Post

The massive FBI anti-corruption operation known as Abscam captured the public imagination in 1980 with a cinematic cast of characters: phony Arab sheiks, real mobsters, corrupt local politicians, U.S. congressmen on the take — all of it orchestrated by a cigar-chomping con artist paid by the feds to set up stings.

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