Convicted purchaser denied retrial

14 September 2006
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15 September 2006 | Paul Snell

A senior US government purchaser found guilty of lying has been denied a retrial.

David Safavian, formerly the head of procurement policy at the White House, was convicted in June of three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice (News, 6 July). The trial concerned comments Safavian made to an ethics officer following a trip to Scotland with a Washington lobbyist.

Safavian had argued for an acquittal of the four convictions but this week the US District Court in Washington D.C. decided he would not be retried.

One of the reasons Safavian gave in his bid for a retrial was that he did not "receive adequate notice of his rights not to speak and the criminal implications of making false statements" when he spoke to officials investigating the Scotland trip. But the court argued that he did not attempt to suppress the comments made to officials, saying that his constitutional rights had been violated, before the trial.

Safavian also made a motion for a new trial for a number of reasons. One factor was that he believed e-mails used in the case against him "constituted inadmissible hearsay". But the court dismissed this argument in May and found "no basis" to reconsider its previous decision.

Judge Paul Friedman ruled that there were "no grounds" for acquittal or for a retrial, and denied both motions. Safavian is to be sentenced on 12 October.


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