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Tobacco case goes up in smoke


A case before the Supreme Court that was expected to be a major test of the constitutionality of punitive damage awards, Philip Morris v. Williams, instead fizzled out as the issue narrowed to the meaning of a jury instruction that the trial judge had refused to give.

Sketch shows Andrew L. Frey arguing for petitioner Philip Morris.  In the foreground are reporters (LtoR) Joan Biskupic, USA Today,  Charles Lane, The Washington Post,  Nina Totenberg, NPR, Pete Williams, NBC News, and David Savage of the Los Angeles Times.


Safavian sentenced


Safavian’s voice cracked and his wife wept as he asked for leniency, but Judge Paul L. Friedman showed little sympathy as he sentenced him to 18 months in prison for obstruction of justice.


Developer not guilty of bribery


A DC jury yesterday aquitted developer Doug Jemal and two other officers of his company, Douglas Development Corp., of conspiracy and bribery.  Jemal was found guilty of a lesser charge of wire fraud.

A posting on the trial from my earlier blog can be found here.



David Safavian, the former GSA chief of staff and OMB official who stood trial this summer and was found guilty of obstructing justice and making false statements about his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow.

COURTARTIST will be there.

This sketch from May 30, 2006 shows former Abramoff associate Neil Volz testifying for the government as part of his plea deal.  Volz also used to be an aide to Representative Bob Ney (R-Ohio) who entered a guilty plea of his own two weeks ago. Safavian is seated between his attorneys at the table to the right.