Challenger says Rep. Brady paid debt to get him out of 2012 race

Close-up of Congressman Bob Brady

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

The man who federal authorities say agreed to drop his 2012 Democratic primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in return for $90,000 in payments from Brady’s campaign fund to retire his campaign debt has agreed to plead guilty to a violation of federal campaign law.

 Jimmie Moore was charged by prosecutors in a criminal information rather than an indictment, typically an indication the defendant plans to plead guilty. His attorney, Jeffrey Miller, confirmed that’s Moore’s intention in a telephone interview.

In the charging document, prosecutors say that Brady and Moore met in Philadelphia “to discuss what Candidate A [Brady] was willing to offer the defendant in exchange for the defendant’s [Moore’s] agreement to withdraw from the race. In that conversation, Candidate A and the defendant agreed and understood the payment would be disguised.”

Moore pleaded guilty to filing a false campaign finance report, which failed to reveal the payments from Brady’s campaign fund. Moore was a senior judge on Philadelphia Municipal Court who resigned this week.

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Brady has not been charged in the case.

In July, Moore’s former campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, pleaded guilty to campaign reporting violations and told the same story — that she understood there was an agreement between Brady and Moore for $90,000 in payments to retire Moore’s debt in return for Moore’s withdrawal. Cavaness’ information about the alleged agreement was secondhand, since she wasn’t in the meeting between Brady and Moore.

The account in Moore’s charging docment indicates that he agrees the payment was negotiated in return for his withdrawal.

Brady’s attorney, James Eisenhower, disputed Moore’s allegations in a phone interview.

“We flat-out deny them,” Eisenhower said. “The congressman never had any conversation with Mr. Moore along the lines charged in this information. And I’ll match the credibility of Bob Brady against the credibility of Jimmie Moore any day.”

Miller said Moore had decided he would drop out of the campaign, and that he reached an understanding with Brady.

 “It’s not as sinister as one might think. It’s a little more vanilla than some kind of a backroom subterfuge to corrupt the political process,” Miller said. “It really wasn’t that. It was, in fact, an agreement by two politicians — one ain’t going to win, so he’s going to drop out, and he’s got a lot of debt, and the other’s got a lot of money, and he says ‘I’ll help you with the money.'”

Asked if he expected Moore to testify against any other parties in the case, Miller said that Moore’s commitment is that if he’s called to testify he’ll tell the truth.

Miller said he had no idea if authorities had any plans to pursue charges against Brady.

Eisenhower said even if Brady had offered Moore a financial inducement to withdraw, which he denies, it wouldn’t be a crime. “It’s normal politics,” Eisenhower said, “and we’ve not seen cases prosecuted like that.”

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