Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray asserted that the Congressman, “abused his office and authority over and over again, by taking bribes and stealing to protect his own interests.” He argued that Fattah was always out of money and consequently had, “to steal to pay the congressman’s debts and sustain his congressional career.”
The Congressman’s defense team, however, painted a very different picture. Specifically, Defense Attorney Mark Lee went after political consultants Gregory Naylor and Thomas Lindenfeld, both of whom worked for Fattah’s failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign.
Naylor and Lindenfeld have already pled guilty to their own federal crimes and now are key witnesses against Fattah. Lee is using their guilty pleas as proof they are the true culprits saying, “This is a case about two men who cut deals with the federal government to keep them out of federal prison.”
Other people close to Fattah are also entangled in his alleged crimes. Bonnie Bowser, an office manager, said she was doing what she was told. Meanwhile Karen Nicholas, the CEO of an education non-profit through which illegal loan payment went said the Justice Department is going after a non-profit dedicated to helping poor children.
Also, former deputy-Mayor of Philadelphia and current lobbyist Herbert Vederman is charged with bribing the Congressman. Vederman’s attorney argued that his client and the congressman were just good friends and there was no intention of bribery.
The Congressman is not the only one with legal problems in his family as his son was sentenced to jail just a few months ago for fraud. That same month, Fattah’s wife was fired from NBC10 as well for allegedly covering up money transfers.
Congressman Fattah has remained a member of the House of Representatives during the legal process, although he lost in the April’s primary election and thus will be leaving the House by January 2017 at the latest.