Orie Trial Update

State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin is facing a barrage of calls for her resignation, following what some observers consider to be the damning testimony in the trial of the former chief of staff of the Judge’s sister, State Senator Jane Orie.

According to a report published by the Associated Press, Sen. Orie’s former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot testified in open court that the Supreme Court Justice was involved in a cover-up of activities in the Senator’s office in November 2009, after an office intern complained to authorities about politicking in the office in late October 2009.

“They said, ‘If there’s stuff in those boxes related to the judge, get it out…,” Pavlot testified.  “It was maybe the day after Melvin’s election [in November 2009].”

Pavlot’s testimony calls Justice Melvin’s credibility further into question. However, she had never previously mentioned the alleged conversation before – and she has been granted immunity as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Tuesday’s testimony saw a second witness for the prosecution take the stand.  According to a report published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, aide Kathleen Campbell testified that she had been directed by Ms. Orie’s chief of staff to conduct political work while on the clock, amounting to about 30 hours over a six-year time span.

Orie has been accused of directing her taxpayer-supported staff to do political work for her and her sister, Melvin.  Melvin has not been charged but is under investigation.

Orie is being retried on 10 campaign corruption charges stemming from 2010 proceedings, including theft of services and conflict of interest in addition to 16 new counts which include perjury, forgery and evidence tampering related to the former proceedings which ended in a mistrial.

Prosecutors have alleged that Orie ordered Pavlot and other taxpayer-supported staff to work on political fundraisers and re-election campaigns that benefited the senator and Melvin.  A third Orie sister, Janine, has separately been charged with directing Melvin’s former Superior Court staffers to campaign for the judge on state time in 2003 and 2009.

4 Responses

  1. Kathy Campbell should be locked up with her best buddy, Jane Orie. She blatantly purjored herself on the stand, choosing NOT to do what was right for the taxpayers of the community

  2. WHAT ABOUT “GAINEYGATE?”

    Jane Orie is on trial for having her staff do political work.

    Ed Gainey candidate for State Representative District 24 has challenged all three of his opponents “Nomination Petitions.”

    In “GAINEYGATE” Allegheny County Elections Department Employees have been secretly “HELPING” Ed Gainey with his challenge of his opponents’ nomination petitions. His opponent Todd Elliott Koger has filed a formal complaint with the District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Koger claims the Allegheny County Elections Department “TRACKED” all of his research (“WORK PRODUCT”) for the past couple weeks and shared it with Ed Gainey.

    That is, Mr. Koger claims that “Allegheny County employees were told to photocopy everything he printed from the Elections Department’s computer system.” On Friday, March 16, 2012, when the regular receptionist was absent the new receptionist didn’t get the memo. She had to be called to the side by the office manager and given special instruction: “to copy Mr. Koger’s “WORK PRODUCT.” A County employee familar with the instructions intervened and made copies. Next, she took Mr. Koger’s “WORK PRODUCT” back to the Office Manager who had copies from earlier in the week in her hand. When Mr. Koger witnessesed all of his “WORK PRODUCT” being handed to an unidentified white male in the back of the office he snapped a picture.

    Mr. Koger then walked back and snapped a second picture of the unidentified white male who was given the “WORK PRODUCT.” Mr. Koger would soon discover that the white male was working with the Ed Gainey campaign. The white male was given Mr. Koger’s “work product” before any subpoena was served. And, the white male wasn’t charged for the copies (Mr. Koger had been charged 25 cents a page).

    As interesting… The office manager had the receptionist ask Mr. Koger for a copy of his hand-written notes.

    Ed Gainey’s staff (white male) had refused to meet and go “line-by-line” over the nomination petition as so ORDERED by the Court. Rather, Ed Gainey had the Allegheny County Elections Department “SECRETLY TRACKING” Mr. Koger’s work product.

    Mr. Koger additionally claims that he witnessed county employees doing work (each day he was there) researching signatures listed on Joe Preston’s and William Anderson’s nomination petitions for Ed Gainey’s campaign.

  3. Melissa Hart is waiting in the wings. Just what the party needs. Another RINO. Remember the Santorum/Hart tunnel that is now costing almost 1 billion.

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