The retrial of Republican State Senator Jane Orie of Pittsburgh's North Hills and her sister, Janine Orie, on public corruption charges has been postponed until October. Responding to a joint request by the prosecution and the defense, Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning delayed jury selection until October 3.
The two sides want the extra time so that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can resolve an appeal by Senator Orie. She wants the high court to toss out the case claiming a retrial would violate double jeopardy standards. If the justices rule the retrial should proceed, the senator wants Judge Manning removed.
Manning declared a mistrial March 3 saying that a fraud had been perpetrated on the court. Manning agreed with prosecutors that 2 defense exhibits used to undermine a key prosecution witness had been forged. Manning called it "deceitful, dishonest, despicable, and it's a crime." Manning told defense attorney William Costopoulos that he was not accusing him of anything but "I think you ought to look in your own house for the culprit."
That prompted prosecutors to have more than two dozen other defense exhibits examined by government experts to determine if they are forgeries as well.
The Orie sisters are accused of using the senator's legislative staff to do campaign work for the senator and a third sister State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who is likely to recuse herself from the appeal.