State Rep. Miranda appears in court, preliminary hearing scheduled from Feb. 28

The preliminary hearing for Pennsylvania state Rep. Jose “J.P.” Miranda (D-197) and his sister is now scheduled for Feb. 28.

The pair, who both attended Tuesday’s status hearing, was indicted last week by a Philadelphia grand jury on political-corruption charges for allegedly using a “ghost employee” to “funnel” taxpayer dollars to Wilson.

The allegations

In Dec. 2012, Miranda hired Timothy Duckett Jr., an auto-mechanic, to be a full-time aide at his North Philadelphia legislative office.

The first-term lawmaker, however, allegedly told Duckett that he wouldn’t have to work 40 hours a week and that he would only be called on “when he needed him.” Duckett would, though, have to hand over a “portion of his pay” to Wilson.

Wilson was allegedly serving as Miranda’s unofficial chief of staff after learning that state nepotism rules bar lawmakers from hiring relatives.

No comments all around

Bruce Friedman, Wilson’s lawyer, declined comment following Tuesday’s brief hearing. So did Wilson after emerging from the courthouse.

Robert Mozenter, Miranda’s lawyer, was unable to attend Tuesday’s hearing and did not immediately return a call for comment. Miranda quickly rode off in a black SUV.

Prosecutors declined comment.

Miranda and Wilson are each facing three felony charges: Conflict of interest, perjury and criminal conspiracy.

Duckett was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony during the grand-jury process.

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