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Jury to decide fate of Pennsylvania mayor in corruption case

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 27, 2018 1:41 PM
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Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who is facing corruption charges, walks from the federal courthouse in Philadelphia after a pretrial hearing, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. Pawlowski has denied accusations that he accepted more than $150,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for city contracts. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


(Allentown) -- Jurors must decide whether Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski sold his office to campaign donors as a prosecutor alleged in court Tuesday, calling him the mastermind of a pay-to-play scheme that infested Pennsylvania's third-largest city.

Pawlowski traded city contracts for campaign cash that funded his unsuccessful runs for governor and U.S. Senate, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan told jurors in her closing argument.

"Ed Pawlowski was not acting for the people. He was acting for himself," said Morgan, outlining nine alleged bribery schemes involving the Democratic mayor. She called Pawlowski a liar who thinks he can "talk his way out of anything."

The mayor's political consultants cooperated with the government and recorded hundreds of conversations with him, many of which were played for the jury during the trial. Several city workers and vendors who pleaded guilty testified against Pawlowski.

His attorney, Jack McMahon, ridiculed the government's case as much ado about nothing, saying it's not unusual for a politician to solicit campaign contributions from government contractors. He called Pawlowski "100 percent innocent."

"There is not one tape in thousands of hours with the inner circle people of my client ever, ever engaging in quid pro quo or offering up contracts for campaign contributions," McMahon said in his closing argument. "How can this be?"

The mayor, who won re-election while under indictment and began his fourth term last month, took the stand in his own defense and insisted he had done nothing wrong.

Numerous charges against him include fraud, bribery, attempted extortion and lying to the FBI. Pawlowski's co-defendant, Allentown lawyer Scott Allinson, is charged with conspiracy and bribery. Allinson has pleaded innocent.

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating Wednesday.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Allentown) -- A defense lawyer says the mayor of Pennsylvania's third-largest city is "100 percent innocent" of charges that he traded city contracts for campaign cash.

Jack McMahon told a jury in his closing argument Tuesday that prosecutors failed to prove their corruption case again Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Federal prosecutors allege the Democrat rigged a series of contracts to go to law firms and businesses that supported his campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate. Pawlowski took the stand in his own defense and denied wrongdoing.

In her closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan outlined nine alleged bribery schemes involving the mayor. Morgan called Pawlowski a liar who thinks he can "talk his way out of anything."

Jury deliberations will begin Wednesday.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Allentown) -- A federal prosecutor is urging a jury to convict the mayor of Pennsylvania's third-largest city of selling his office to campaign donors.

Prosecutors allege that Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski rigged a series of contracts to go to law firms and businesses that supported his campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate.

The Democrat took the stand in his own defense and denied wrongdoing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan made her closing argument Tuesday, outlining nine bribery schemes she says the mayor orchestrated.

The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that Morgan called Pawlowski a liar who thinks he can ``talk his way out of anything.''

The defense is also delivering a closing argument.

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