Ex-congressman’s sentencing on hold amid bribery appeal

    The sentencing of a longtime Pennsylvania congressman is on hold this week while his lawyers appeal his bribery conviction in the wake of a pivotal Supreme Court ruling.

    Lawyers for former Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia say the high court narrowed the definition of bribery in overturning former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonell’s conviction days after Fattah’s conviction in June.

    They argue that Fattah accepted gifts out of friendship and did not perform any political favors in return.

    U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle questioned those arguments at a hearing last month when he noted that Fattah hired the gift-giver’s girlfriend and pressed the White House to make him an ambassador.

    Fattah also hopes to reverse other parts of his 22-count conviction. Bartle has not ruled on the issue.

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