David H. Safavian and the Abramoff Corruption Scandal

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David H. Safavian, appointed by President George W. Bush as Chief of the General Services Administration (GSA), was indicited and finally sentenced for his part in  Abramoff’s attempts to acquire GSA controlled property in and around Washington. Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to charges of conspiracy, aiding and abetting honest services, mail fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced in September 2008.

Charges Against Safavian

The original indictment that were filed in October 2005 included charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements related to his association with Jack Abramoff.  The investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) focused on whether Safavia aided Abramoff in his attempt to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington.

At the trial, the prosecutors presented evidence that Abramoff took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scottland and London in August 2002. He had made statements to the GSA Office of Inspector General (GAS-OIG), claiming that Abramoff did all his work on Capitol Hill at the same time as Safavian was assisting Abramoff in acquiring GSA properties. Other evidence of Safavian lying to the jury was that he filed a false statement on his 2002 financial form without including information about the August 2002 paid for by Abramoff.

A federal jury found Safavian guilty of four of the charges against him however two counts were later reversed on appeal.. Also on appeal, the court vacated and remanded for a new trial the conviction of charges related to the obstruction of the GSA-OIG investigation and making false statements to a GSA ethics officer and a Senate Committee. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.  The sentences date has not been set as yet by the court.

Safavian was among the 17 individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trail as a result of the ongoing investigation into the activities of Abramoff and his associates.

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