Brady opponent to plead guilty — what will he say?

Close-up of Congressman Bob Brady

Congressman Bob Brady, D-Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

The former candidate whom prosecutors say U.S. Rep. Bob Brady paid to drop out of a 2012 primary challenge is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Monday.

It’s unclear whether Jimmie Moore’s account of the events will present a legal problem for Brady, who represents parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County.

Brady hasn’t been charged in the case, but prosecutors have said in court documents he paid $90,000 from his campaign fund to retire the debts Moore ran up before abandoning his run for Brady’s seat.

The details matter here: if Moore were quitting anyway and got some help afterward, that’s one thing. But a Sept. 13 charging document filed by prosecutors indicates Moore will say he and Brady met to discuss what Brady “was willing to offer the defendant [Moore] in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to withdraw from the race.”

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I caught up with Brady at a City Hall news conference last week, and he said it’s not true.

“I never negotiated anything with Jimmie Moore,” Brady said. “I did nothing wrong.”

Moore will plead guilty to one count of filing a false campaign-finance report to disguise the payment from Brady’s campaign committee.

It’s what he says about his personal interaction with Brady that will be of interest, and it isn’t clear how much Moore will be asked about that in his plea hearing.

The prosecutors’ version of events, reflected in their court filings, has Brady agreeing to the payment in return for Moore’s withdrawal.

Moore’s attorney, Jeffrey Miller, has said that Moore was getting out of the race in any case, and that he had campaign debts he needed help to pay.

Miller said Moore will testify truthfully about the events if ever called to do so.

Brady’s attorney, James Eisenhower, has said the payments were legitimate purchases of campaign materials and services, reported on Brady’s campaign-finance reports.

It’s not clear whether it would be illegal for Brady to offer the campaign payments in exchange for Moore’s withdrawal from the campaign, but Brady insists that didn’t happen.

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