July 31, 2015 |
YOU PROBABLY could use a lot of adjectives to describe the 29-count indictment that U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was hit with yesterday, but "shocking" isn't one of 'em. For one thing, it was widely known that federal investigators had spent much of the last eight years probing Fattah's finances, lending an air of inevitability to the whole thing. The charges he's facing - racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, falsification of records - are the kind that can earn a guy an extended stay at a federal penitentiary to be named later.
February 22, 2015 |
After they had finished the final story of a long-running investigation published in the Camden Courier-Post, Lee Daniels and Jim Riggio went out to celebrate. But instead of then going home, the pair went back to the newsroom and promptly fell asleep at their desks, Riggio said from his home in Billings, Mont. The next morning, a top editor woke them and showed them a photo that had just been taken of them. "The next time one of you clowns asks for a raise," Riggio recalled him saying, "this is what you'll get - a photo of you sleeping at your desks.
March 20, 2014 |
From the outside it looks like a slam-dunk case: four Democratic state lawmakers from Philadelphia and a city judge captured on tape as they accept money or gifts from an undercover informant. Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision to drop the investigation deeply troubled some former prosecutors, who want to know more about how that determination was reached. But it does not surprise defense lawyers, who say even an expertly run sting can be difficult to prove. "This could be a perfectly prosecutable case - or this could be a case that should not be brought," said veteran Philadelphia defense lawyer Robert E. Welsh, who worked six years as a federal prosecutor.
March 19, 2014 |
'It was a guy thing," says Paul R. Rosen. "Not a woman near it. " The movie American Hustle is a far cry from the real Abscam sting and trials. Just ask those who were actually involved. Many are still around, and several have seen the movie. It got skunked at the Oscars, but the DVD comes out Tuesday, and it's in line for a big night at the MTV Movie Awards on April 13. "I think if there was an Amy Adams or a Jennifer Lawrence around," Rosen says, "I would have remembered.
February 28, 2014
IF YOU LIKE Oscar sweeps, you're not going to like this year's race. The large 2014 bounty of great movies points to another unusually competitive contest - with some uncanny echoes of last year - and virtually guarantees that no single picture will dominate the tally. Look for the awards to be spread pretty evenly over half a dozen films. The question is, who gets what? The answers: Best Picture/Director Let me boldly and definitively assert that when it comes to Best Picture, I haven't much confidence in my pick.
February 17, 2014 |
Kenneth N. MacDonald - family man, civic leader, and vice chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission - was an hour late for a dinner party in Haddon Township. "As soon as my dad came through the door and I saw his face, I knew something was really wrong," says Kevin MacDonald, recalling that Saturday evening in February 1980. "He sat me and my sister down, and said: 'There's going to be a story about me in the paper tomorrow. And I want you to know it's totally untrue.' " The Sunday headlines broke the news about an FBI sting in which MacDonald, a former mayor of Haddonfield and the owner of Winner Ford in Cherry Hill, had been implicated.
December 20, 2013 |
IT IS THE MOST famous - and felonious - epigram in the long and storied history of Philadelphia political-corruption scandals. "Money talks, bulls--- walks," former U.S. Rep. Michael "Ozzie" Myers said while discussing a bribe with representatives of Arab sheikh Yasser Habib at a motel near Kennedy International Airport in New York in 1979. Myers, who left that meeting with $50,000 in an envelope, and 18 other government officials would soon learn they had three serious problems.
September 6, 2013 |
MIKE WALD was the consummate smooth operator. How else could this undercover FBI investigator convince a bunch of shrewd Philadelphia politicians that he represented an Arab sheik willing to make payoffs to get government favors? With a video camera peeking through a hole in the wall from an adjoining room at the Barclay Hotel, politicians, including three city councilmen, two congressmen and a lawyer, were caught accepting bundles of cash. The scandal was called Abscam, and it unfolded in the late 1970s and early '80s as a carefully plotted FBI undercover sting that made lurid headlines for years.
May 19, 2013 |
Angelo J. Errichetti, 84, a former Camden mayor and state senator who was South Jersey's premier Democratic power broker in the decade before his 1981 bribery conviction in the Abscam scandal, has died after a long illness. He had been living in Ventnor, N.J. During two mayoral terms, starting in 1973, he built a reputation as an unflagging booster for his hometown, where his father, a Neapolitan immigrant, stoked coal at the shipyard to feed seven children. Mr. Errichetti's efforts to revive Camden's moribund economy were said to occupy 12 hours on a typical day, yet he took on a second office simultaneously.
July 2, 2012 |
The House Judiciary Committee's rejection of the most recent bill calling for the merit selection of judges caused me to reflect on our system of electing judges in Pennsylvania, and why I have chosen not to put myself through the ordeal that candidates for the state judiciary have to endure in order to take a place on the bench. It also made me think back to a swearing-in of a Common Pleas Court judge I attended in Philadelphia several months ago. The swearing-in was for a successful candidate in last fall's election, an attorney with 25 years' experience in the District Attorney's Office, someone who is bright and honest, and exercises good judgment; in other words, someone who deserves to be on the bench.