Safavian Sentenced to 18 Months
David Safavian, a Bush administration official who enjoyed golfing with Jack Abramoff in Scotland on Abramoff's dime, will be taking an 18 month break from the links. In June, Safavian was convicted of making false statements to government agents and of obstructing the Abramoff investigation. At yesterday's sentencing, Judge Paul Friedman vented his frustration with the culture of corruption in Washington, but resisted the government's pitch for a three year sentence.
The 18-month sentence fell halfway between the defense's recommendation that he serve between zero and 12 months, and a Justice Department recommendation for 30 to 37 months.
The government wanted Judge Friedman to enhance Safavian's sentence for perjury it believes he committed during his trial. Judge Friedman made a generous finding that Safavian might actually have believed his false testimony to be true, saving Safavian from a longer sentence. Safavian's refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing convinced the judge that Safavian deserved a short stint in federal custody.
Safavian is the first person sentenced in the Washington corruption investigation that also led to an Oct. 13 guilty plea by Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who joined the trip to Scotland. Abramoff and three of his former colleagues have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, though their sentencing dates have been delayed while they cooperate with the ongoing probe.
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