A federal judge yesterday sentenced David H. Safavian, a former top Bush administration official, to 18 months in prison for lying and concealing unethical dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
During an unusual hearing that lasted much of the day, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman wrestled with how to mete out justice to Safavian. He said Safavian was a man who had "pulled himself up by his bootstraps" and had been "a very good person to a lot of people." But, the judge said, Safavian also committed "an abuse of the public trust" in his relationship with the lobbyist.
"Did he believe in public service? I guess he did," Friedman said. "But he also wanted someday to join Mr. Abramoff in that lucrative lobbying business."
Friedman lamented that Washington has become "more and more corrupt," increasingly a home to greedy lobbyists and politicians on the take. Read on...