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The Justice Department overreached in prosecuting a former Bush administration official in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, a federal appeals court said Tuesday as it dismissed some charges and ordered a new trial on others.

The decision overturns the conviction of David Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration and the only person in the four-year scandal who opted to go to trial rather than accept a government plea deal. He had faced 18 months in prison.

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