Fumo defense rests its case today

    Following four and a half months of testimony, the defense will rest its case today in the federal corruption trial of former Pennsylvania state Senator Vince Fumo. The former Democratic powerbroker faces 139 counts of fraud and obstruction of justice.

    Following four and a half months of testimony, the defense will rest its case today in the federal corruption trial of former Pennsylvania state Senator Vince Fumo. The former Democratic powerbroker faces 139 counts of fraud and obstruction of justice. WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports.

    Transcript:
    On Tuesday, Fumo’s defense attorney Dennis Cogan threw doubt on a key part of the government’s case, obstruction of justice.  He attacked Fumo’s former friend and attorney Richard Sprague.  Sprague had testified against Fumo, telling the jury he never advised his client he could delete emails as long as he did not receive a subpoena.  But Cogan produced a note that suggests Sprague did believe Fumo could continue to purge emails.

    Cogan: “Words mean what they seem to mean, not what Mr. Sprague and the government say they mean.”

    Cogan showed the jury the note enlarged on a white board. Temple University law professor Edward Ohlbaum says, for Fumo, that note is a godsend.

    Certainly a pillar of the defense case if not the cornerstone is — look at that eight and a half inch piece of paper that I have now blown up and read it and weep.

    Ohlbaum says much of Fumo’s fate rests on whether the jury believes him or his former lawyer Richard Sprague. The case is expected to go to the jury by the end of this week.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090304fumoclosing.mp3]

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