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David Safavian wept as he pleaded with Judge Paul Friedman to go lightly on him during a sentencing hearing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 27. “I have no one to blame but myself,” said Safavian, adding, “If I could do it all over again I would treat every inquiry from Jack Abramoff differently.” But even if the 38-year-old Safavian wished he had done things differently, his last-minute apology for “bad judgment” was not enough to persuade Friedman to give him home confinement. After five and a half hours of arguments and testimony, Friedman sentenced Safavian to 18 months in prison. Safavian, the former top White House procurement officer, was convicted in June on four counts of false statements and obstruction of justice. Despite Safavian’s speech and dozens of letters attesting to his upstanding character, Friedman was not convinced he deserved leniency for accepting responsibility so late in the game. “How does he clearly demonstrate he accepts responsibility? Where has he accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct?” Friedman asked Safavian’s lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder. She responded, “I believe . . . he believed that he didn’t conceal anything.” Friedman continued to shake his head in apparent disbelief. “You can save that for the court of appeals,” Friedman replied.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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