Saturday, October 28, 2006
David Safavian received an 18-month prison term for obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents in connection with an investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Safavian participated in the Scotland golf trip that has also ensnared Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, who entered a guilty plea as part of the widening investigation of Capitol Hill corruption. The sentence handed out by U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman fell between the government's request for a sentence under the Guidelines of 30-37 months and Safavian's request for probation or home confinement. According to an AP story (here), the Judge found that Safavian's testimony at trial was "incredible" and "hard to believe" but did not apply the two-level sentence enhancement for perjury. Judge Friedman followed the Sentencing Guidelines in imposing the sentence without applying any of the enhancements that government sought that would have increased the prison term.
At the hearing, the Judge seemed to be asking Safavian to take some responsibility for what he had done. While Safavian said that he was "contrite" for what he did, Judge Friedman said, "Get up here and tell me, 'I agree I concealed. I agree I obstructed justice,' . . . I don't believe he's done that." While the Judge might hope to hear such a statement, Safavian's defense at trial was that he did not do anything wrong, so it may be unrealistic to think that he would do a complete about-face that would undermine his appeal that there was insufficient evidence of his intent to obstruct justice and lie. (ph)