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Safavian Found Guilty of Lying, Obstruction

A federal grand jury returns guilty verdicts on four of five counts against David Safavian, the former chief procurement officer for the federal government. Safavian was convicted of lying and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said he tried to cover up his business relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In 2002, Safavian was chief of staff at the General Services Administration. He gave Abramoff advice on two potential business deals with the agency. Abramoff invited Safavian on a golf junket to Scotland.

Safavian, who was appointed by the Bush administration, said the advice wasn't illegal, and he paid his own way on the trip. The jury heard testimony from a member of Abramoff's lobbying team. The panel also saw expense records from the trip, and they read numerous e-mails between Abramoff and Safavian.

For his part, Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud and bribery charges in January.

The trial had seemed to bog down a Justice Department task force on corruption, which appears to be interested in several members of Congress.

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Peter Overby has covered Washington power, money, and influence since a foresighted NPR editor created the beat in 1994.