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It’s often said that your enemy’s enemy is your friend. But in the legal world, the same can sometimes be said of your one-time enemy. That is how it worked for Jennifer Safavian, the wife of David Safavian, a former White House procurement official whose trial on criminal charges in connection with the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal is set to begin May 22. When Safavian was indicted last September, his wife hired her former foe Barbara Van Gelder, a partner at Wiley Rein & Fielding, to defend her husband. What better choice than someone she’d faced off with before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where she was once counsel? Van Gelder says she was often at odds with Ms. Safavian when Van Gelder brought clients before the committee. Though Van Gelder had never met Safavian until his troubles, she’s fought, albeit unsuccessfully, to get the indictment dismissed. Just last week, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman struck down her motion to prevent certain e-mails and evidence from being included. And the judge ordered her to be more specific in her explanation of the planned testimony of expert witness Anthony Anikeeff, a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani. Ms. Safavian did not return calls for comment.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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