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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Judge stays decision ordering Scarnati to personally pay 29K

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 30, 2018 4:28 AM

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Scarnati's lawyers are appealing the judge's decision. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati may not have to pay more than $29,000 out of pocket for legal fees in a redistricting case.

At least, not yet.

A federal judge has put a hold on the order he made after deeming the GOP lawmaker's actions in the case frivolous.

The case in question was initially brought to the Commonwealth Court last summer by the League of Women Voters, who argued the state congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

In November, Scarnati--a defendant--argued it was a federal matter, and removed it to a federal district court, where it was assigned to Judge Michael Baylson.

A few weeks ago, Baylson concurred with the League's claim that Scarnati acted inappropriately and owes them legal fees.

Scarnati's legal team is appealing, and Baylson has now stayed his order as that case is worked out.

In a statement, Scarnati said Baylson found "no bad faith and cited no relevant case law, which makes the assessment of personal liability even more confounding."

He added, the ruling would have "enormous impact" on "public elected officials making future legal decisions."

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