Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Fumo Trial: follow the crumbs vs cookie jar defense

Very enjoyable reading about it all...

Especially now Rendell, Gov of PA has been subpoenaed, for the Fumo defense. And the pair were never, never, close political allies... nay, nuh, nope. unhuh... ghost vote No!

Net the Truth Online

Rendell subpoenaed in Fumo trial
by CHARLES THOMPSON, Of The Patriot-News, and The Associated Press
Monday February 02, 2009, 5:05 PM

Gov. Ed Rendell will appear in federal court Monday as a defense witness in the corruption trial of former Sen. Vince Fumo, D-Philadelphia. Chuck Ardo, Rendell's press secretary, said that Rendell had been served with a subpoena today at his Philadelphia office.
"The governor isn't sure what relevant information he may have, but he will honor the subpoena and answer any questions that are asked," Ardo said.

Fumo is charged with misusing more than $1 million in state resources and another $1 million from the Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, a south Philadelphia charity he allegedly controlled, for his personal and political benefit.

Rendell had been on Fumo's list of potential witnesses for some time.

Fumo's lawyer, Dennis J. Cogan, said Monday only that Rendell would be asked about matters related to the case. He declined further comment.

Fumo and Rendell are both Philadelphia Democrats, but are not considered close political allies. Since Rendell took office in 2003, they have worked together on state budgets and a 2004 law that legalized slots gambling.


Evans, Fumo give casinos an ultimatum on sites
Source: Amy Worden and Jeff Shields Inquirer Staff
Date: 7/4/2008

Move it or lose it. That was the message from two powerful Philadelphia lawmakers to the Foxwoods and SugarHouse casinos last night. House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans and State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo said at a news conference that they would draft legislation to remove the casinos' tax breaks if they did not abandon their proposed sites on the Delaware River waterfront.

The locations, which were decided upon 21/2 years ago, are "untenable and contrary to the public interest," the Democrats said in a statement. "We are sending a message to citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that we are trying to fix the problem," said Evans, joined by nine Philadelphia-area lawmakers in addition to Fumo. "We didn't think it would be the problem it is today, but it has created tension for people in the community as well as politically."

Fumo said they also were sending a message that if casino companies continued the legal battle, they would be stripped of their 10-year tax abatements. And he suggested the lawmakers might go further. Back then, "we started making spit balls. This time, they'll be atom bombs," he said.

Gov. Rendell, in an interview last night, said he would meet with all parties within the next two to three weeks, but he cautioned that any casino relocation has to be voluntary. "Under the law, the location can't be changed."


Some discussion forums...



Fumo Trial Post 10: What Does The Defense Have To Prove?
Litigation and Trial - Max Kennerly

Legally, almost nothing. The burden lies with the plaintiff (or prosecutors) to prove the elements of their claims, and the defense can sit back and do nothing more than poke holes in those claims. (There’s an exception for “affirmative” defenses like Fumo’s proposed “advice of counsel” defense, discussed previously.)

...Over the next few days we’ll continue to see more of that context: the defense’s goal will be to create enough context to rebut the prosecution’s central assertions underlying the fraud charges, which is that Fumo had staffers and contractors on the senate payroll who did no work for the government and that Citizens Alliance and the Independent Seaport Museum were treated like shams to benefit Fumo. They don’t have to rebut everything, just paint enough context to slant everything else.

Fumo doesn’t have to do much for the fraud charges: once he shows largely legitimate explanations for what happened, and once he challenges the worst allegations – like those made by Marrone – he’ll likely earn back reasonable doubt. The jury knows the FBI dug deep for months, and they’ll expect a case that’s, if not airtight, is at least watertight. If Fumo can show that everyone saw him dipping his hand into the cookie jar, and that the FBI has mislabeled a significant number of cookies, he’ll likely create enough reasonable doubt to avoid most of the charges.

The obstruction of justice charges are harder to fight: as the context for them is an FBI investigation. As such, Fumo’s lawyers will need to show that Fumo’s mindset – his paranoia and rampant destruction of emails – long preceded the investigation, and that he had reason to believe he could continue such destruction even after he got wind of the investigation...


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