17 November 2006 | Paul Snell
David Safavian, the US purchaser found guilty of making false statements and obstructing justice earlier this year, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison by a US court.
The court has, however, allowed Safavian to be released pending his appeal against the judgement.
Safavian, formerly head of procurement policy for the White House, was convicted at a court in Washington DC in June on three counts of making false statements and obstructing justice (News, 6 July).
He faced up to 20 years in jail, a significant fine or both, but the court decided that due to the nature of Safavian's offences, the period over which they took place and his conduct during the trial, he should be sentenced to between 15 and 21 months in jail.
Judge Paul Friedman granted Safavian's request to remain out of prison until the result of his appeal was heard. He said because Safavian was unlikely to flee the country or pose a danger to the community, he would allow the request.
The court also took into account that Safavian had raised "substantial questions of law or fact". These were close decisions that could have been "decided the other way" in the original trial. The judge said if an appeal against these decisions was successful, "a new trial likely would be required".