South-Western Legal Studies in Business

No Right to Warning that Statements During Investigation Could Be Used as Evidence
Description

Court held that a jury could convict a government administrator for making false statements about a matter he was involved in despite the fact that the administrator was not told during the internal investigation that his statements could become the basis of criminal charges.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Due Process; Disclosure; Internal Investigation; False Statement

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Safavian was Chief of Staff for the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA). He flew with lobbyist Jack Abramoff by private jet to Scotland to play golf and enjoy a week vacation. When the lobbying scandal involving Abramoff arose, Safavian was questioned by investigators about the trip. He was later indicted for making false statements concerning the matter. He was convicted on all counts. The jury found that Safavian concealed the fact that he knew Abramoff was seeking GSA approval of some business deals. He appealed the jury verdict to the trial judge, asking for acquittal and made a motion for a new trial.

Decision

Motions denied. Defendant claims his due process rights were violated during the investigation within the GSA about the trip to Scotland. Safavian was not given a warning that false statements could result in criminal proceedings, but he had no right to a due process warning. An internal investigation comes before a formal criminal investigation. The GSA investigator had no obligation to give him a warning of any kind regarding how information he provided could later be used against him. The making of false statements in the course of employment can serve as the basis for criminal charges being brought against the person who makes the statements.

Citation

U.S. v. Safavian, ---F.Supp.2d--- (2006 WL 2598269, D. D.C., 2006)

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