Friday, March 4, 2011

2nd Trial for Orie, Defense Claims Double Jeopardy

April 11 is the date for a new trial in the public corruption case against Republican State Senator Jane Orie but that is expected to be postponed because of defense appeals. Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning also gave the defense until March 25 to file appeals. Orie's attorney William Costopoulos has already promised to appeal claiming a second trial would amount to double jeopardy.
Costopoulos disagrees with Manning's decision Thursday to declare a mistrial after ruling the defense introduced two forged documents to undercut the credibility of the key witness, Orie's former chief of staff, Jamie Pavlot. The judge halted jury deliberations when the prosecution called his attention to the signatures on the defense documents. Manning called it "deceitful, dishonest, despicable, and it's a crime." Manning told Costopoulos that he was not accusing him of anything but "I think you ought to look in your own house for the culprit."
Orie is charged with using her state paid staff to do campaign work and with conspiring with her sister, Janine Orie, to have the staff also work on the 2009 campaign of a third sister, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who is not charged.

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