Prosecutors Want Prison for Ex-Abramoff Partner

The government is pushing for three years in prison for a former Bush administration official found guilty of covering up his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The prison time could be years less than what David Safavian, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, was initially expected to face for lying and hiding details of his connections with Abramoff from investigators and lawmakers.

Federal prosecutors calculated that Safavian's sentence should be between 30 and 37 months, based on federal guidelines, and asked that he be sentenced "at the high end of that range." Safavian could have faced up to five years on each of the four criminal counts in his June conviction. His sentencing is set for Oct. 27.

In documents filed in federal court Wednesday, Justice Department prosecutors Nathaniel B. Edmonds and Peter R. Zeidenberg urged the court to reject Safavian's request for probation, home detention and community service instead of prison.

"Such a sentence is wholly unwarranted and would constitute a miscarriage of justice," the prosecutors wrote.

"There is simply no basis for this court to accept defendant's invitation to disregard the sentencing guidelines and impose such a breathtakingly lenient sentence," the prosecutors concluded.

Safavian's attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

His federal trial marked the first guilty verdict by a jury in the Abramoff probe. E-mails between the two men showed how Abramoff showered Safavian with trips and other perks while badgering him for information about two pieces of GSA-controlled property the lobbyist wanted — including the historic Old Post Office in downtown Washington.