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David Safavian lied to his agency. He lied to federal investigators, and he lied to Senate staffers. On that much a federal jury agreed. But when the former top procurement officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget stands before Judge Paul Friedman Oct. 27 to receive his punishment for four counts of making false statements and obstructing justice, he faces a steeper sentence than Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), whose criminal acts are far more vast. The difference between the two men’s fate is simple: One man fought the charges while the other copped a plea. Federal prosecutors are seeking a 27-month sentence for Ney, who admitted in court Oct. 12 to accepting gifts from convicted ex-lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, inserting statements in the Congressional Record on their behalf, and failing to report money he received from business interests. In Safavian’s case, federal prosecutors are asking Friedman for a sentence on the higher end of the guidelines of 30-37 months. “Far from accepting responsibility for his criminal conduct as he claims, defendant has tried to deflect blame,” prosecutors wrote. But Safavian is fighting even that. In court filings, Safavian’s attorneys ask for a sentence of house arrest or community service, saying that his conduct was “anomalous from an otherwise faultless record of public service and civic contribution.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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