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Sting operation nails 3 Philadelphia legislators for bribery

A sting operation commenced last summer has resulted in the indictment of three Philadelphia legislators for bribery. All three are charged with accepting cash payments in exchange for promises of legislative favors.

The bribery investigation was first begun by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett. His successor, Kathleen Kane abandoned the probe, calling it flawed and racist. The case was re-activated last summer by the Philadelphia district attorney. The investigative work was done by the DA's Public Corruption Task force and the State Police.

The three legislators appeared at an arraignment in Harrisburg, where two pled guilty and one pled not guilty. The three legislators were caught on audio tape in conversations with an undercover investigator who offered the representatives cash contributions to their political treasuries in exchange for a promise of using their influence to push certain legislation. Other legislators apparently were recorded refusing the bribes. The grand jury has not been excused, and it could conceivably indict other legislators who were targeted by the investigation.

The text of the taped conversations was not made public, but the case demonstrates the fine line between accepting a legal campaign contribution and agreeing to accept money in exchange for specified legislative favors. Public corruption charges, even if ultimately dismissed, can have serious long-term consequences for anyone against whom they are made. Anyone who is charged with public corruption or bribery should consult a criminal attorney with experience in handling such matters. A knowledgeable attorney can assess the facts of the case, plan and coordinate a successful defense and play a major role in minimizing the adverse effects of such allegations.

Source: NBC10, "3 State Representatives from Philadelphia Indicted on Bribery Charges," Vince Lattanzio, March 10, 2015

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