Bush procurement policy chief will appeal conviction

The head of federal procurement policy during the Bush administration will appeal his 2008 conviction for lying about his dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

On Wednesday, former Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator David Safavian's attorneys filed documents with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia requesting a stay of his one-year sentence, pending the completion of the appeal. Safavian is due to report to jail next spring after the birth of his second child.

Safavian, who served as chief of staff at the General Services Administration during the incidents in question, will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will throw out the conviction, grant him a new trial or reduce his sentence. Safavian's attorneys filed his official notice of appeals last month.

The newly filed documents indicate that Safavian's challenge will center on three areas: the legal relevance of statements he made to a GSA ethics officer and to an FBI agent, allegations the government engaged in vindictive prosecution when it added new charges as part of a reindictment, and the admission of evidence regarding the cost of a charter plane to Scotland. The defense raised each of these issues at trial, but lost.

"When taken together, these questions, if decided in Safavian's favor, would likely result in reversal, a new trial order or a reduced sentence, including a term of imprisonment less than the expected duration of the appeal process," his attorney wrote. "Accordingly, Safavian should be released on conditions pending appeal."

The attorneys added that Safavian was no threat to flee the country and posed no danger to the community.

Safavian is no stranger to the appeals process. In June 2008, he successfully appealed his 2006 conviction on related charges. But prosecutors reindicted him in October 2008, and a jury again found him guilty in December 2008.

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