News

Case against Pa. senator will go to trial

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 26, 2014 12:19 PM
leanna_washington.jpg

This story has been updated at 12:45 p.m.

(Abington) -- A suburban Philadelphia judge has ordered a state senator to stand trial on corruption charges. 

District Judge John Kessler has ruled prosecutors had provided sufficient evidence to support charges that Senator Leanna Washington used her legislative staff for eight years to organize an elaborate, annual ``birthday party'' political fundraiser on taxpayer time and using taxpayer resources. 

Former employee and intern Jamila Carol Hall testified earlier at the preliminary hearing that, as part of her job, she performed numerous tasks in helping organize the party and keep track of the payments to Washington's campaign.  

Defense attorney Henry Hockeimer says the facts don't amount to criminal conduct and the charges are ``thin and specious.'' 

The 68-year-old Democrat is running for a third full term representing parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

An earlier version of this story is below:

(Abington) -- The state attorney general's office is poised to present evidence in a hearing to determine whether state Sen. Leanna Washington must face a jury trial on corruption charges.

Today's scheduled hearing was to be before District Judge John Kessler in Abington, Montgomery County.

Prosecutors allege Washington used her taxpayer-paid legislative staff for eight years to organize an elaborate, annual ``birthday party'' political fundraiser on taxpayer time, using taxpayer resources.

Washington, a Democrat, represents parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. 

Her  lawyer, Henry Hockeimer, says the facts don't amount to criminal conduct and the charges are ``thin and specious.''

The 68-year-old Washington was elected to the Senate in 2005 and is running for a third full term. She was charged March 12th. The investigation became public in October after agents searched Washington's offices.

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