Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Philly Politician Indicted

Vincent J. Fumo, a long-time Philadelphia politician (State Senator - Democrat), has been indicted. The case relates to his alleged improper use of a charitable foundation.  The 267 page indictment is described in a press release as including charges of:

"139 counts, that is, two counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of Section 371; one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, in violation of Section 371; 60 counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; 41 counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; 32 counts of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(b)(2)(B), 1512(c)(1), and 1519; and two counts of aiding and assisting the filing of a false tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2)."

But it sounds like this case will not be the norm as the defendant is speaking out in response to this government action.  The Philadelphia Inquirer provides the text of his speech to the State Senate. One aspect of this speech is particularly telling - it speaks to the toll an investigation takes on the life of the accused and his or her family. Fumo notes that he is "relieved," "that [this] phase is over, and I can move forward, knowing who and what I am fighting. I will be able to meet the allegations head on, instead of trying to answer the countless rumors that have attended this process."  This is most definitely a case to follow.

(esp) (w/ a hat tip to Peter Goldberger)

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