Convicted Former Rep. Chaka Fattah, Associate Eligible for New Trial, Appeals Court Says

Chaka Fattah spent 20 years in Congress before a 2016 racketeering conviction resulted in a 10-year prison sentence.

Chaka Fattah and an associate could get a new trial on certain bribery charges after a federal appeals court overturned the ex-Pennsylvania congressman's bribery convictions, but let stand guilty verdicts on other counts.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that 61-year-old former U.S. representative, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, and associate Herbert Vederman are eligible for a retrial on charges it threw out.

The Philadelphia Democrat spent 20 years in Congress representing the city and suburbs before his 2016 conviction on charges including racketeering, bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice.

In addition to the bribery case, he was convicted of using more than $600,000 in government grants and nonprofit funds on personal and campaign expenses.

The court ruled that five counts Fattah and Vederman were convicted of should be vacated because the jury that convicted them was improperly instructed of the law.

Video shows lawyers arguing the case before the Third Circuit judges.

Aside from removing the convictions, the court called for two other counts that Fattah and Vederman were acquitted on be reinstated.

The two men would face potential additional sentencing on those counts but since Fattah is serving concurrent sentences already, he likely not be release from prison any earlier than prior to the ruling.

Last August, lawyers for Fattah filed an appeal arguing prosecutors used too broad a definition of bribery in his case and failed to meet a standard set by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that narrowed what is legally constituted as corruption. The Supreme Court decision states an official action must involve formal governmental functions, such as hearings.

Prosecutors said they are reviewing the ruling. Fattah's attorney declined comment.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us