Safavian Found Guilty Again

Posted December 19, 2008 at 2:57pm

A federal jury on Friday convicted former White House official David Safavian for the second time of lying to ethics officials about his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Associated Press reports that the jury, which had been deliberating since Wednesday, found Safavian guilty on one count of obstruction and three counts of making false statements to investigators. A sentencing date was not set. An initial guilty verdict, issued in 2006, was overturned. Safavian did not comment after the verdict, but his attorney Lawrence Robbins told the AP: “We look forward to vindication in future proceedings.” Safavian, a former official at the General Services Administration and later the Office of Management and Budget, traveled to Scotland with Abramoff and others on a lavish golfing vacation in August 2002. Safavian paid $3,100 to cover the cost of the trip, but the government alleged that the true cost was far more than that — closer to $15,000 — and that Safavian knew he was not paying the full cost. The Justice Department has charged 15 people with crimes related to Abramoff, but Safavian is the only one who has gone to trial. He was convicted in 2006 of lying to ethics officials about his relationship with Abramoff, but an appeals court overturned that conviction in June on the grounds that Safavian had no legal obligation to provide complete information to GSA ethics officials when he voluntarily sought an opinion on whether he could accept the golf trip as a gift.