News

Ex-Rendell aide pleads guilty in FBI sting

Written by The Associated Press | May 10, 2016 11:55 AM
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FILE PHOTO: Former Governor Ed Rendell's chief of staff John Estey, center. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Harrisburg) -- A onetime top aide to former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell has pleaded guilty in an FBI sting, but authorities aren't revealing any more information about an operation in which agents set up a fake company to investigate allegations of public corruption in Pennsylvania. 

John Estey said little in federal court in Harrisburg on Tuesday as he pleaded guilty to wire fraud. 

A plea agreement filed last month says Estey told agents in 2011 that lawmakers would help the fake company in exchange for $20,000 in campaign contributions. 

Agents first approached Estey in 2009, after he had left Rendell's administration. 

The plea agreement says Estey faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Consiglio told Judge John E. Jones that prosecutors will recommend a lighter sentence if Estey accepts responsibility. 

No sentencing date was set. Former federal prosecutors say the FBI's approach suggests there'll be more arrests.

An earlier story is below:

A onetime top aide to former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell is set to plead guilty to wire fraud for pocketing thousands of dollars in supposed campaign contributions from a fake company set up by the FBI to investigate public corruption in the state.

John Estey's agreement to plead guilty later today in federal court in Harrisburg is bumping up against the five-year statute of limitations for wire fraud.

A plea agreement filed last month says Estey told agents in 2011 that lawmakers would help the fake company in exchange for $20,000 in campaign contributions.

Agents first approached Estey in 2009, after he had left Rendell's administration.

Former federal prosecutors say the FBI's approach suggests there will be more arrests.

The plea agreement says Estey faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, but prosecutors could ask the court to consider his cooperation.

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