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Ex-White House official convicted of lying, obstruction in Abramoff probe

[JURIST] David Safavian [Wikipedia profile], former head of procurement for the US government, was convicted Tuesday of four of five felony charges stemming from the scandal surrounding former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive]. After five days of deliberations, a federal jury in Washington, DC, found Safavian guilty of obstructing an investigation by the General Services Administration [official website], two counts of making false statements to GSA officials, and making a false statement to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee [official website]. He was found not guilty of obstructing the Senate committee's investigation. Safavian, former administrator of the White House Office of Procurement Policy [official website] and chief of staff at the GSA, was under investigation [JURIST report] for a 2002 golf trip to Scotland that he took with Abramoff, who was allegedly trying to buy GSA property.

In their indictment [JURIST report], prosecutors accused Safavian of concealing the fact that he was helping Abramoff deal with the GSA and that Abramoff had done business with the GSA before the trip. Separately, Abramoff pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to conspiracy and fraud charges for falsifying documents to procure a loan for a casino purchase. He was sentenced to nearly six years in prison [JURIST report] and is cooperating with prosecutors in other government corruption investigations, including that of US Rep. Robert Ney (R-OH) [official website]. Safavian's trial is the first to result from the Abramoff scandal. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12. AP has more. The Washington Post has local coverage.

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