Making our politicians look good

    We’ve had some wild corruption cases in Philadelphia, but I’m not sure we have anything to compare with the crazy trial in Pittsburgh that blew up Thursday.

    They’ve got a state senator’s attorney introducing evidence the judge concluded was doctored, and the judge declaring that “Ray Charles could see that these documents were fraudulently composed.”

    The judge, Jeffrey Manning declared a mistrial and set off a media frenzy that should occupy the Western Pennsylvania press for a while.

    The case involves the Orie sisters of Pittsburgh, a colorful crew.

    State Senator Jane Orie and her sister Janine are charged with using the senator’s staff on state time to work on the 2009 campaign of a third sister, Joan Orie Melvin, for the State Supreme Court.

    The documents Judge Manning decided were phony purported to show the signature of Orie’s former chief of staff, Jamie Pavlot on documents in which she takes responsibility for activities in the senate office that proved problematic.

    Manning concluded that Pavlot’s signature was a cut-and-paste job from other documents. You have to wonder what the implications will be for the Ories and the attorneys involved.

    It’s kind of nice to see somplace else in Pennsylvania hosting the carnival.

    You can see coverage by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette here, by CBS station KDKA here, and copies of the documents, courtesy of the Post Gazette here.

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