An outgoing Montgomery County official has been charged with perjury and false-swearing. Commissioner James Matthews is accused of lying about his relationship with a title company that does county business. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Matthews lied on several occasions to a grand jury. Matthews “deliberately lied, misrepresented his relationship with Certified Abstract and with the individuals involved with that company, as well as many other aspects of the way that that relationship existed,” said Ferman. “He lied about conversations with individuals, he lied about conversations related to the grand jury that were had in violation of a gag order.”Thomas Egan, Matthews’ attorney, said Matthews has resigned his chairmanship but remains a commissioner. Matthews believes the investigation was politicially motivated when it was initiated, said Egan, adding that his client looks forward to being exonerated of the charges in court.Ferman said the grand jury found that Matthews, the brother of MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, lied with such ease and frequency, that he acted as though he was above the law.
“Thinking about the grand jurors’ reaction to him, his demeanor was one of arrogance,” said Ferman. “His demeanor was of a person who felt that he was entitled to do whatever it is that he wanted, that this was his government.”Ferman said the grand jury report shows citizens do not support that sort of behavior.
The charges are the result of an 18-month investigation that began with allegations that Matthews violated Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act by meeting with another county commissioner privately.Ferman said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove they conducted official business in private.