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Abramoff friend's conviction upheld

May 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM

WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court in Washington Friday upheld the conviction of former U.S. official David Safavian, an associate of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian, a former chief of staff for the General Services Administration, was convicted of obstruction of justice and false statements for lying about the extent of his ties to Abramoff and details of their 2002 golfing trip to Scotland.

After Safavian's first appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sent the case back to the district court for a retrial, which was held in 2008. Safavian was again convicted after prosecutors added two more counts, an action his lawyers called vindictive.

On Friday Judges Douglas Ginsburg, Janice Rogers Brown and Harry Edwards unanimously upheld the verdict in the second trial, saying the prosecutors were "objectively reasonable" to change strategy after the appeals court's first reversal.

Safavian, sentenced to about a year in prison, has been free pending his appeal despite government objections, Legal Times reported.

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