Thursday, March 3, 2011
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning ordered a halt to jury deliberations in the corruption trial of State Senator Jane Orie of suburban Pittsburgh. Manning stopped the deliberations after agreeing with prosecutors that two key defense exhibits used to undermine the credibility of the prosecution's key witness, former Orie chief of staff Jamie Pavlot, may have been "doctored." The prosecution contends that Pavlot's signature was cut from another document and pasted on the defense exhibit. Orie's attorney William Costopoulos angrily responded to the accusation, but when Manning was shown the documents on an overhead projector he said it was obvious they had been manipulated. The judge wants prosecutors to get a document expert to testify at a hearing this afternoon. The judge says he wants to try to remedy the situation before the deliberations continue, otherwise, he might declare a mistrial.