Safavian Conviction in Abramoff Scandal Overturned

Former Bush Administration official David Safavian has had his conviction on perjury and obstruction charges overturned. The charges related to his dealings with Jack Abramoff. He had been sentenced to 18 months in prison and was free on bond pending appeal.

His conviction was based on statements he made to Senate investigators, GSA ethics officials and the agency's inspector general. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out the charges related to ethics officials and the inspector general and ordered a new trial on the other charges.

The court unanimously agreed that when Safavian asked whether he could ethically travel to Scotland for a golf trip with Abramoff, he was not required to tell ethics officials that he'd been providing Abramoff information about government-owned properties.


The government contended that once Safavian asked for the ethics opinion and once he began speaking with the inspector general, he was required to disclose all the information, even beyond what was asked. The court disagreed. "The government essentially asks us to hold that once an individual starts talking, he cannot stop," the appeals court wrote. "No case stands for that proposition."

Safavian had been chief of staff of the General Services Administration as well as a former Abramoff lobbying associate.

The Government alleged he concealed that Abramoff was seeking to do business with GSA when Safavian joined him on a golf trip to Scotland in 2002.

All of TalkLeft's coverage of Safavian is accessible here.

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    Hmmm..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:10:01 PM EST
    OK - he doesn't have to tell. But then he also can't rely on advice given without knowing the facts of the relationship.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#2)
    by eric on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:25:20 PM EST
    it's a bit strange to claim to relyy on ethics advice that was given without a full disclosure of the facts.  With that being said, I don't know that it arises to a crime.  It surely invalidates the ethics advice.

    With that being said, the other statements which were made to investigators are going to be retried.


    U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (none / 0) (#3)
    by jackyt on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:31:29 PM EST
    Isn't that a Bush-packed court?

    It was up to the Government to (none / 0) (#4)
    by Radix on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 12:49:06 PM EST
    ask, "Why he traveling to Scotland, for what purpose."