They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker
But it's the first Abramoff trial, and the only first Abramoff trial we're ever going to get. (Doing one-armed pushups in a mountain cabin -- Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop/Just a man and his will to survive. . .)
What to expect? Simply put, Safavian's lawyers will be arguing that he didn't lie. Prosecutors will argue that he did. Repeat for two weeks or so.
The whole case (here's the indictment) revolves around a golf trip to Scotland Safavian took while he was with the GSA. Safavian asked GSA ethics officials if he could fly there on Abramoff's dime, saying that the lobbyist had "no business before the GSA." The official said OK based on that assurance. Prosecutors say that was a lie.
The case expands from there, but that's the basic issue: the definition of "business." Safavian, who went way back with Abramoff, was corresponding regularly with him, and giving him all sorts of advice on how to obtain GSA properties (more on that later). Prosecutors say that constitutes business before the GSA - so Safavian lied. Safavian's lawyer will try to split hairs and argue that Safavian's help didn't rise to the technical definition of "business."
So, yeah, it's a technicality. But there's no telling what else prosecutors may pull out of their hat to press their case. We'll be there to find out. (And he's watchin' us all in the eye . . . of the tiger!)