A Pennsylvania mayor convicted on dozens of corruption charges has launched a letter-writing campaign to try to persuade the judge to impose a lenient sentence.
The (Allentown) Morning Call reported that it has reviewed a text message in which Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski thanks supporters and adds "What we truly need right now is for people to write a letter to the judge on my behalf."
"I would like to get as many as possible (hopefully thousands) to him over the next several weeks,'' he said. He told the paper Saturday that "hundreds have already stated they will write letters."
Defense attorney Jack McMahon said soliciting letters of support is not unusual, the goal being to get supporters to help the judge see his character.
Authorities said Pawlowski masterminded a scheme to rig city contracts for legal, engineering, technology and construction work, all in a bid to raise money for his statewide political campaigns. Pawlowski, who led Allentown for a dozen years and was re-elected to a fourth term while under indictment, ran unsuccessfully for governor and U.S. Senate.
The jury convicted him of dozens of charges, including conspiracy, bribery and lying to the FBI. Sentencing has not been scheduled. Federal prosecutors and the Democratic governor have called on him to resign immediately, something he will be required to do eventually under state law and the city charter.
Pawlowski kept up appearances throughout the nearly six-week trial, appearing at City Hall a few times a week and performing other official functions as mayor of Allentown, a city of 120,000 people about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.
On Saturday, he posted on Facebook that he was helping at a food bank near his home, as he had long done on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
"The reception was warm and welcoming as always, with many hugs and words of support and encouragement,'' he said.