Fattah Jr. pleads not guilty to 23 counts

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chaka Fattah Jr. leaves court yesterday saying, "I will be vindicated."
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chaka Fattah Jr. leaves court yesterday saying, "I will be vindicated."
Posted: August 15, 2014

CHAKA "CHIP" Fattah Jr. has railed against the federal fraud charges filed against him, but he doesn't seem to mind the media spotlight surrounding him these days.

After his arraignment in federal court yesterday - in which he pleaded not guilty to all 23 counts against him - he told a bevy of reporters outside the courthouse that one of his federal defenders had a statement.

The lawyer made his statement. Then, as Fattah, 31, walked away, trailed by reporters, cameramen and photographers, he couldn't help but respond to some questions.

"I stand by what I said. There are a lot of comments out there," he said, referring to his numerous interviews last week following his surrender and the unsealing of the indictment against him.

"There's no doubt about it," he said, when asked if he thought the feds filed charges against him because he is the son of 10-term U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat who represents parts of Philly and Montgomery County.

The congressman has also been under investigation by the feds.

Fattah Jr. added: "I will be vindicated."

He is accused of defrauding banks, the IRS and the School District of Philadelphia of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He allegedly obtained numerous lines of credit from banks but instead of using the money for business purposes, the feds say he squandered it to pay personal expenses, including gambling debts.

Assistant federal defender James McHugh said yesterday that "Fattah Jr. entered his plea of not guilty to each and every count in the indictment, and he is looking forward to his day in court."

Nina Spizer, assistant chief of the Trial Unit in the federal defenders' office, is also representing the congressman's son.

On Monday, Fattah Jr.'s former roommate, Matthew T. Amato, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to obtain bank loans, allegedly at Fattah Jr.'s behest. A prosecutor has said Amato is cooperating with the government and could testify against his former friend.


On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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