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NEWS
August 23, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The woman accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl last year after abducting her from a West Philadelphia elementary school researched child sex crimes on her personal computer, a city prosecutor disclosed Thursday. The new allegations about Christina Regusters, 21, were detailed by Assistant District Attorney Erin O'Brien in a pretrial-motions hearing before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. Minehart permitted O'Brien to use the evidence at trial over the objections of defense lawyer W. Fred Harrison Jr. Also Thursday, the judge and lawyers completed jury selection with two final alternate jurors.
NEWS
August 21, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - A top state prosecutor told a judge Tuesday that the Attorney General's Office was "breaking new legal ground" in using "a pattern of conduct" - and not explicit "quid pro quo" evidence - as the foundation for its ambitious corruption case against Pennsylvania Turnpike officials and several others. Special Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter said that the pattern would prove that a cozy and corrupt culture permeated the turnpike leadership, and that contractors plied officials with baseball tickets, golf outings, lavish meals, and campaign donations in return for contracts.
NEWS
August 20, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - Lawyers for six defendants charged with corruption in connection with Pennsylvania Turnpike contracts ripped into the state prosecution Monday in a last-ditch attempt to shut down or seriously weaken the case before a forthcoming trial. The lawyers said the indictment unfairly sought to criminalize the legal practice of dunning government contractors for campaign contributions. And the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, the defense lawyers said, had fallen far short in amassing evidence tying gifts and campaign money to specific contracts.
NEWS
August 14, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
The lead prosecutor in the looming corruption and bribery trial of former top turnpike officials and vendors - a signature case for the office of Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane - plans to leave her position ahead of trial. Senior Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter is expected to handle pretrial arguments in hearing next week, but then depart from the Attorney's General's Office Aug. 29, according to people familiar with her plans. The Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the reports of Brandstetter's resignation.
NEWS
July 30, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
PHILLY-BORN RAPPER Meek Mill was only 8 months old when Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror" was released in January 1988, but he needs to listen to the lyrics and try to learn something from them, according to the latest court filing in the jailed entertainer's case. In opposing a petition filed last week by the rapper's lawyers seeking to have him paroled from jail, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Noel Ann DeSantis wrote Friday that Mill is unappreciative of the court's efforts to rehabilitate him and to allow his career to flourish in the five years he's been on probation for a drug and gun conviction.
NEWS
July 30, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia prosecutor turned to no less an authority than Michael Jackson in opposing early parole for the rapper Meek Mill, saying he has yet to accept responsibility for himself and his actions. Much of Assistant District Attorney Noel Ann DeSantis' legal response - filed Friday in Common Pleas Court after the rapper's plea for release from a three- to six-month sentence for violating probation - is a 13-page recitation of his problematic years on court supervision. But DeSantis also suggested that perhaps music was the best way to convince Mill - real name Robert Williams - that he has to take a "hard-earned look at himself, his talent, and his character as a man. " DeSantis then quotes from the lyrics to Jackson's hit "Man in the Mirror," which includes the verse: "I'm starting with the man in the mirror; I'm asking him to change his ways.
NEWS
July 26, 2014 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
One Sunday earlier this year, Jean Celestin was taking his daughters to a party in West Deptford Township. On the front seat of his green Volvo was a wrapped birthday present. Behind him, Justine, 8, and Jeanelle, 3, were in child seats. At the wheel, Celestin, a U.S. citizen who was born in Haiti and now lives in Swedesboro, was glued to his GPS. Big mistake. Instead of taking him to the Delaware River's edge for the party, he said, it led him into the riverside complex of Solvay Solexis, an international chemical company, on a parallel road.
NEWS
July 12, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office issued a memo to local municipalities in June that they are required by law to notify vehicle owners within three days after their cars are towed and placed in impound. The memo was sent days after The Inquirer published stories about a Camden woman who repeatedly asked Camden County Metro Division Police to investigate the theft of her 1991 Chrysler LeBaron. Instead, Michelle Perez, 32, said she was told by a detective that she was too busy to investigate.
NEWS
July 8, 2014 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
  By day, Gerard Breland has spent the last 23 years prosecuting criminals. Among the 60 cases he tried was a particularly heinous matter involving murder and jury intimidation in Jersey City. But in his free time, the Burlington Township resident turns his attention to the less seedy side of life. He and his wife, Tonya, have recorded 17 original and traditional gospel songs on YouTube, earning as many as 15,368 views on one of them: "I Want to Say Thank You. " He also directs the music and worship team at Destiny Church in Moorestown.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors objected Wednesday to a request by former Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo to travel without advance approval. "There is no reason that defendant Fumo should be treated differently than any other defendant, simply because he owns or controls more homes than the average convicted defendant," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer wrote in a court filing. Zauzmer, a key member of the team that brought the case leading to Fumo's conviction on corruption charges, urged U.S. District Court Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter to reject Fumo's request to travel long distances without getting permission from his probation officer.
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