By Brittany Foster, Contributing Writer
Originally tried in April, Senator Orie was charged along with her sister Janine for performing illicit campaign activities for herself and her State Supreme Court Justice sister Joan Orie Melvin. Senator Orie was granted a mistrial after the judge determined that certain documents presented by the defense had been forged.
Now awaiting her retrial, prosecutors have uncovered new evidence of tampering by both the Senator and her sister Janine. The prosecution has alleged that Senator Orie spent last summer scanning new documents into state computers that she would later claim were created in 2006. A McCandless staffer claims she was also instructed to perform similar scanning over a period of several months, stating that the volume would have taken her and a colleague at least a full week to complete.
Justice Orie Melvin has yet to be criminally implicated and Janine Orie has not been charged in the second round of allegations but Senator Jane Orie turned herself in on Monday night without comment.
Once the Majority Whip of the Senate, Jane Orie was pushed to resign that position after the first charges and is now hearing pressure to resign from the Senate entirely. Republican leaders have stated that the legal proceedings are distracting Orie and interfering with her ability to operate as a Senator, and there are rumors of a significant effort by the GOP to convince the Senator to step down. KDKA’s Jon Delano broke that story last night.
“The initial case wasn’t so bad, but these new charges are much worse. The outlook isn’t good and party leaders are debating whether to show [Orie] the exit,” one western PA GOP insider told PoliticsPA.
Senator Orie’s brother, Jack has said that Jane is “shocked” by the allegations and knows that she hasn’t done anything wrong. The Orie camp has also claimed that the new charges are designed to discredit the Senator as she begins her retrial.