Today, State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia) was found guilty of “seven charges- five felony counts of violating the state conflict-of-interest law, a felony count of accepting $4,000 in bribes and a misdemeanor court of failing to report the payments on her financial-disclosure form,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Brown, 52, is the representative of the 190th House District and was the last defendant in the “ambitious and controversial sting investigation launched by state prosecutors nearly a decade ago, but secretly killed by then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane,” the Inquirer story states. She was one of five Philadelphia legislators accused of taking bribes following an investigation by the state attorney general’s office, while the others pleaded guilty or no contest, according to PennLive.
Brown was re-elected to the 190th House District despite being charged and is running unopposed in next month’s election.
Pennsylvania State House Democratic Leader, Frank Dermody, released a statement after the verdict was announced.
“The 10 years of good work that Vanessa did for her district still matters to many people but will be overshadowed by her conviction. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is.”
The press release goes on to explain that despite running unopposed next week, she has to give up her seat when she is sentenced.
“I haven’t yet spoken to Representative Brown but she will do what she must to conform to the rules of the House and also because it’s in the best interest of her constituents,” Dermody continued in the press release.
“She waged a long legal battle and mounted a defense against the charges, but the verdict rendered today means she must face the consequences,” Dermody said.
After Brown vacates the seat, a special election to select the next representative for the 190th District for the 2019-2020 session will be scheduled by the Pennsylvania speaker of the House.
For further in-depth coverage of this story, here are multiple links to other PA news outlets.
Inquirer: State Rep. Vanessa Brown guilty on all counts; took $4,000 bribe in sting
PennLive: Jury convicts Pa. legislator in bribery case
AP: Pennsylvania House lawmaker convicted of taking cash bribes