October 24, 1986 |
It is a law that, in the words of one former federal prosecutor, "recognizes the subtlety of political bribery and extortion. " The Hobbs Act is a sweeping anti-extortion statute under which the federal government yesterday accused two Philadelphia judges of obtaining $300 each from Roofers Union leader Stephen Traitz Jr. as a result of their judgeships, or in the legal language of the statute, "under color of official right. " Common Pleas Court Judge Esther R. Sylvester and Municipal Court Judge Mario F. Driggs were each charged with one count of violating the Hobbs Act when both were judges-elect in December.
September 24, 1987 |
The night before the jurors found Judge Esther R. Sylvester not guilty of extortion, they began issuing cries for help. Please restate the elements of the crime, said foreman J. Bradford Wiley's first note to U.S. District Judge Clifford Scott Green. Half an hour later, a second note: "Please write out the four legal elements of the Hobbs Act. . . . All the jurors are not hearing the same thing. " And finally, this message: Jurors were "in disagreement" over the meaning of a few words: knowingly, willfully and intent to corrupt.
October 22, 1987 |
The city has been ordered to pay more than $350,000 in back pay and benefits to six Revenue Department employees fired three years ago amid charges that they had been absent without leave and that some had extorted money from companies they audited. Four of the employees, all former tax auditors with more than 15 years' experience in city government, reported back to work Monday, after arbitrator Charles L. Mullin ruled Sept. 28 that they be reinstated. Two other department supervisors were reinstated by the arbitrator after a separate hearing last spring.
December 1, 1987 |
Gov. Casey nominated Deputy Attorney General Georganne Victoria Daher yesterday to replace former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Mario F. Driggs, who was convicted of extortion for accepting cash from the Roofers Union. Daher, whose nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate, had been on a list of 20 names recommended in February by the governor's judicial selection commission to alleviate the case backlog in the Philadelphia court system. Daher, 36, had been assigned to the civil litigation section of the Attorney General's Office in Philadelphia.
February 3, 2013
A Norristown man was convicted in federal court Thursday of charges connected to following a tavern employee home, robbing him at gunpoint, then returning to the bar and stealing money from its safe. Marc Viney, 34, will serve prison time for robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, and possession of a firearm to commit a violent crime. He faces a stiffer sentence because the case was shifted from Montgomery County Court to U.S. District Court using the Hobbs Act, which a government website describes as prohibiting "actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce.
August 25, 1990 |
Five state legislators were indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges of selling their votes, and two of them have resigned. A federal grand jury indicted state Sen. Rick Lee and state Reps. Danny Winstead and Bob Kohn, who are Republicans, and Democratic Reps. Luther Taylor and Robert Brown. They are accused of violating the federal Hobbs Act, which bans acceptance of money or gifts in return for votes or favors. Winstead was also indicted on a charge of obstruction of justice.
October 3, 1990 |
Former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Mitchell S. Lipschutz was indicted yesterday on a federal extortion charge alleging that he illegally accepted $500 from former Roofers Union leader Stephen J. Traitz Jr. The federal charge is based on the same cash gift that was the basis of a state charge filed against Lipschutz three years ago but never taken to trial. Lipschutz - who was among 17 city judges implicated in the receipt of cash from the Roofers Union - was charged yesterday with a single count of extortion.
November 13, 2003 |
A Philadelphia union leader who is a major supporter of Mayor Street has been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury that is investigating corruption in city government, according to a court-system source familiar with the labor official. Samuel Staten Sr., business manager of Local 332 of the Laborers' International Union of North America and a longtime Street ally, and his son, Samuel Staten Jr., president and assistant business manager of the union, both have been summoned, the source said.
March 21, 1987 |
The issue of whether former City Councilman Harry P. Jannotti, who was convicted of conspiracy to take a $10,000 payoff in the Abscam scandal, may seek election to City Council in the May 19 primary will be decided by Wednesday by a Common Pleas Court judge. The issue came before Judge Lois G. Forer yesterday after one of Jannotti's opponents, Councilwoman Patricia A. Hughes, filed suit Monday to bar Jannotti's candidacy. Hughes cited a state constitutional provision prohibiting anyone "convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime" from holding public office.
April 29, 1987 |
A Commonwealth Court judge ruled yesterday that former City Councilman Harry P. Jannotti is not qualified to seek elective office because of his 1980 Abscam conviction. Jannotti has been campaigning to unseat Councilwoman Patricia A. Hughes, his former aide, and yesterday vowed to appeal to the state Supreme Court before giving up. "If she thinks I'm just going to give up the fight, she better get ready for another one," Jannotti told KYW-TV (Channel 3) yesterday. The key question in the case was whether Jannotti is prohibited from running for office under a state constitutional provision that bars anyone convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury or other "infamous crimes" from holding "any office of trust or profit.