WASHINGTON — A former Bush administration official convicted of hiding details of his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has asked for a new trial.
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A lawyer for David Safavian, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, argued in court papers that e-mails between Abramoff and Safavian were improperly admitted at trial.
In the e-mails, Abramoff and Safavian exchanged information about two pieces of GSA-controlled property that Abramoff wanted for himself or his lobbying clients. Many of the e-mails were written around the time that Safavian accepted a weeklong trans-Atlantic golfing trip from Abramoff.
Government lawyers countered that U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman had already settled the issue of the e-mails during trial.
A federal jury found in June that Safavian had hidden details of his relationship with Abramoff from a GSA ethics lawyer, the GSA’s Inspector General’s office and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and had obstructed the IG. Safavian’s lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, filed the request for a new trial last month.
Safavian could face up to five years in prison on each of the four counts. He was acquitted of obstructing the Senate probe.
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