Sen. Washington asks for change of trial venue

Posted: July 04, 2014

Attorneys for State Sen. LeAnna Washington are asking to have her criminal trial moved from Montgomery County to Philadelphia.

The Attorney General's Office in March charged Washington with using taxpayer-funded staff and resources to plan her annual birthday party campaign fund-raiser.

The charges were filed in Montgomery County because, according to a grand jury presentment, much of the planning was done in Washington's district office in Roslyn.

Washington, a Democrat, represents the Fourth District, covering parts of North Philadelphia and southeast Montgomery County.

Tejal Mehta, an attorney for Washington, said Wednesday that she is asking for a change of venue because the birthday parties, the attendees, and most of the witnesses are based in Philadelphia.

Her motion cites a letter from Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman offering to hand over the investigation to the Attorney General's Office.

"Most of the political and campaign activities alleged to have been done on government time occurred in Harrisburg or Philadelphia," Ferman wrote. "As such, I believe your office is in the best position to continue to investigate these allegations against Sen. Washington."

Washington faces two felony counts of theft of services and conflict of interest, which could bring a 12-year prison term.

610-313-8117 @JS_Parks

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