Saturday, October 28, 2006

NYT: Former WH official sentenced in Abramoff scandal

Man Linked to Abramoff Is Sentenced to 18 Months - New York Times: "A former White House budget official who became entangled in the criminal investigation of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison for lying about his relationship to Mr. Abramoff.

The former official, David H. Safavian, wept as he pleaded for leniency from Judge Paul L. Friedman in Federal District Court here. The judge used the sentencing hearing to speak out against what he said was a growing culture of corruption in Washington encouraged by high-priced lobbyists.

“He came to work in an environment that has become, frankly, more and more corrupt,” Judge Friedman said in announcing Mr. Safavian’s sentence, which was half of the three-year prison term sought by the Justice Department.

“It’s become corrupted by money,” Judge Friedman added. “You’ve literally got lobbyists sitting in Congressional offices writing legislation. That’s what’s going on.”

Mr. Safavian’s crimes, he said, were a “classic case of abuse of the public’s trust.”

Mr. Safavian was convicted in June of lying to federal investigators about Mr. Abramoff and the circumstances of his decision to join the lobbyist on a golfing trip to Scotland by private jet in 2002."


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