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Obstruction Conviction from Abramoff Scandal Upheld for Bush Administration Member

Posted May 13, 2011 2:26 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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The lying and obstruction convictions of David Safavian, a former White House procurement official involved in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, were upheld today by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Associated Press reports.

Safavian worked in the George W. Bush administration. A 2006 conviction was overturned on appeal, leading to a retrial and another conviction. Prosecutors presented evidence at both trials that Abramoff obtained information from Safavian about government property the lobbyist wanted to acquire.

In the most recent appeal, Safavian argued that Justice Department lawyers engaged in prosecutorial vindictiveness, according to the Associated Press. Safavian also argued that his alleged lies were not relevant to the criminal investigation, and the trial court improperly let in evidence about the cost of a private jet Abramoff chartered to take Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland.

"So long as Safavian's false statements were capable of influencing the course of the FBI's investigation," the statements were relevant, the appellate panel wrote.

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