U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia says he can no longer pay the firm representing him in a federal racketeering case and will seek new counsel.
A judge has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to decide if Fattah's lawyers can quit the case after five months.
The veteran Pennsylvania Democrat is accused of using federal grants and charitable donations to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan, and funneling campaign money toward his son's student loan.
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Fattah says he has spent $300,000 on the lengthy probe, and paid $100,000 to the firm of Kevin Mincey and Thomas Fitzpatrick. But he says they can't stay on the case without additional payments.
“I thank Mincey & Fitzpatrick for the excellent representation they provided throughout the last five months. I am confident in the pre-trial motions they filed and believe these will have a significant impact in proving my innocence in this case," Rep. Fattah said in a statement.
"My focus is now on raising money for an unanticipated primary challenge, and Mincey & Fitzpatrick are not in a position to continue representation without payment. I have spent more than $300,000 to-date in litigating this matter, including over $100,000 to their law firm. I will be naming replacement counsel in the very near future.”
Mincey declined to comment Thursday. A judge has denied their bid to keep the issue under seal.
Fattah's trial is set to start May 2.
Congressman Fattah is married to NBC10 News anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah. Chenault-Fattah, who isn't facing any charges, is currently on leave from NBC10.