Safavian: “Nothing to Hide”

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Justin, who’s been at the Safavian trial all day, just called in to say that Safavian has just completed the direct examination and now is on to the hard part – the cross examination.

As expected, Safavian, the former chief of staff at the General Services Administration, testified that he did not regard his advice to Jack Abramoff on how to navigate the GSA’s bureaucracy as Abramoff having “business” before the GSA. And so he thinks he did nothing wrong when he neglected to tell GSA ethics officials about it when he asked their advice on accepting a ride on Abramoff’s charter flight to Scotland.

His lawyer, Barbara van Gelder, took the tone of a prosecutor in her questions. And Safavian said, “I had nothing to hide about Jack Abramoff.” He also denied that there had been any quid pro quo. When asked if he’d wanted a gift from Abramoff, he replied, “I didn’t want to take advantage of someone who had been my friend.”

Dressed in a dark suit, black tie and white shirt, Safavian seemed to be trying to win the jury’s sympathy. When one of them sneezed, he said, “bless you.”

Assuming the sympathic posture of someone who’s been unfairly used by a friend, he’s not trying to run from his closeness to Abramoff.

“Are you still friends?” van Gelder asked.

He paused. Then he said, “We haven’t spoken in a long time,” and added:“I will always consider myself his friend.”

Here’s more from the AP.

Cross examination will be a rougher ride.