Judge Sends 6 Pa. Turnpike Defendants to Trial

Prosecutor Laurel Branstetter noted that turnpike officials took an active role in helping politicians raise campaign money.

By Mark Scolforo
|  Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013  |  Updated 4:00 PM EDT
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Judge Sends 6 Pa. Turnpike Defendants to Trial

A judge says he is sending a case alleging corruption in Pennsylvania Turnpike business to county court for trial.

District Judge William Wenner ruled Tuesday that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to warrant a jury trial. He ruled following four hours of closing arguments in the preliminary hearing against former Sen. Bob Mellow and five other defendants.

Prosecutors describe the allegations of bid rigging and influence peddling as a breach of public trust and improper influence over large contracts. Defense lawyers argue that there isn't evidence to support any of the charges and had urged Wenner to throw out the case.

Other defendants are former turnpike Chairman Mitch Rubin, former Chief Executive Joe Brimmeier, former Chief Operating Officer George Hatalowich and two people who worked for vendors. 

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