Thursday, June 22, 2006

FORESHADOWING WHAT'S AHEAD -- This nugget from the NYT write-up of the Safavian verdict:
Defense lawyers for other subjects of the Abramoff investigation said they were chilled by the verdict against Mr. Safavian, suggesting that it might embolden the Justice Department to bring charges against much more prominent public officials who were close to Mr. Abramoff.

"Safavian was a little fish," said a lawyer for a former government official who has also become entangled in the investigations of Mr. Abramoff. The lawyer, who was granted anonymity to speak because he did not want to bring unnecessary attention to his client, added, "I think this makes it easier for the prosecutors to ask permission at the Justice Department to go for the bigger fish."

Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in a statement that "the message of this verdict is clear: in answering questions posed by Congress and by federal agencies, public officials have the same obligation as does the public for which they serve — to tell the truth."

Among the other lawmakers under close scrutiny by the Justice Department is Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who joined Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Safavian on the 2002 trip, traveling by private jet to Scotland, where they golfed at the fabled course at St. Andrews.
See also TPMMuckraker.