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Abramoff fallout: Ney to resign; Prosecutors seek 30 to 37 months for ex-Bush aide Safavian

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Published: Friday October 13, 2006

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The fallout from the Abramoff lobbying scandal continues, as Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney pleads guilty in federal court to conspiracy charges and prepares to resign from Congress, while at the same time a former Bush Administration official faces a possible two-and-a-half year prison sentence.

"Rep. Bob Ney's lawyer Mark Tuohey said in court this morning during his guilty plea hearing that Ney will not be resigning from Congress immediately – but rather 'in the next few weeks,'" Paul Kiel reports for TPM Muckraker.

The attorney said that Ney had "constituent issues he wanted to tie up" and wanted to ease the transition for his staff.

"The judge set Ney's sentencing for January 19th," Kiel writes. "Ney faces a maximum of ten years, but prosecutors have said that they'll recommend a sentence of 27 months."

"After announcing in August he would not run for re-election, Ney checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility in mid-September and resigned his House committee posts," reports Roll Call. "But he did not give up his House seat at the time, despite calls from Democrats to do so."

Safavian may face 2 1/2 year sentence

Prosecutors are seeking a 30 to 37 month prison sentence for David Safavian, formerly a top administrator with the Office of Management and Budget, who was convicted on obstruction of justice and other charges for lying to government officials and Senate investigators about his relationship with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Roll Call reported on Thursday.

Excerpts from Roll Call article:

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The Justice Department submitted a sentencing memorandum to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday with its recommendation for how long Safavian should serve behind bars. Safavian is to be sentenced on Oct. 27, and his attorneys have asked for probation or home detention, as well as a period of community service.

In the Justice memo, prosecutors argue that Safavian has refused to take responsibility for his actions despite his conviction on four counts of obstruction and making false statements.

“Such a sentence is wholly unwarranted and would constitute a miscarriage of justice,” prosecutors wrote. “Far from taking responsibility for his criminal conduct as he claims, [Safavian] has tried to deflect blame from himself and place it on Abramoff while at the same time minimizing the conduct for which he has been convicted. Moreover, defendant’s criminal conduct, far from aberrational as he tries to claim, constituted a long-standing pattern of conduct.”

Prosecutors added, “Defendant’s conduct in this case constituted an abuse of the public trust. He was appointed to a position of authority in the government and used that position to unfairly advantage a close, personal friend, in violation of his ethical duties. Then, when confronted about his conduct, rather than admit the truth, he lied. These lies, which cover the span of three years, were designed for no purpose other than to defend the defendant from, at the very least, public censure and reprimand, or, at worst, criminal prosecution.”

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FULL ROLL CALL ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK