Former Bush administration official David Safavian wept as he asked for leniency in his obstruction of justice case Friday, telling a judge that his lobbyist friend Jack Abramoff manipulated him and drew him into the scandal.
“Yes, Jack Abramoff was a friend but he wasn’t my coconspirator and I wasn’t his,” Safavian said. “There was no conspiracy to defraud anyone, least of all the taxpayers.”
Safavian didn’t say, however, what U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman wanted to hear. Early in the hearing, Friedman told defense attorneys he was leaning toward a sentence of 15-21 months in prison and was not convinced Safavian had accepted responsibility for his crimes.
“Get up here and tell me, ‘I agree I concealed. I agree I obstructed justice,'” Friedman said earlier in the day. “I don’t believe he’s done that.”
Friedman said he would issue a sentence after court returned from lunch at 1:45 p.m.