Chaka Fattah Jr. will be representing himself in a fraud and tax-evasion case.
A federal judge granted permission to Fattah Jr., the son of Philadelphia-area Democatic Congressman Chaka Fattah, to act as his own lawyer today. The 32-year-old does not have a law degree.
“I’m happy that the court is going to allow me to represent myself. I’m really excited,” said Fattah, Jr. “I’m prepared to fight the government on these charges and I’m looking forward to the next few months before the trial.”
Authorities allege that Fattah, Jr. filed false income tax returns and used money from business loans to pay personal expenses. He faces the possibility of 418 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Rep. Fattah is the subject of a federal corruption probe. Though the elder Fattah has not been charged, two of his former associates have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Filings by federal prosecutors made serious allegations about someone identified as “Elected Official A” and in those same papers gave descriptions of that politician that make it clear it must be Rep. Fattah. Fattah has denied wrongdoing and won re-election despite the cloud hanging over him. Those court papers allege Elected Official A helped orchestrate theft of public funds to pay off an illegal campaign debt. The filings also say campaign funds were used to repay student loans for Elected Official A’s son.