Friday, February 25, 2011


As if there were any question remaining, the trial of Sen. Jane Orie has laid absolutely bare the politically-selective nature of Tom Corbett's so-called investigation of legislative corruption.

It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots: Fearing hackers, a paranoid Orie in 2008 asked Corbett's office in to examine her computer network - the same network where county investigators discovered that political material resided until 2009. ("Testimony reveals that up until late spring of 2009, some of those very campaign and political records of Orie's were maintained on computer hard drives that were part of the state computer system.")

At least one member of the mainstream media has finally begun to face the facts. Not every reporter is angling for a job in the Corbett administration. (Just watch out for the goon squad, Laura.)

Orie was so confident that she had nothing to fear from Corbett's "investigation" that she not only continued overt taxpayer-funded political activity long after the "Bonusgate" scandal frightened nearly everyone else into going legit -- she actually invited the cat-in-chief to rummage around in the mouse-hole.

It was only after she learned a law-enforcement agency other than Corbett's had been tipped off that she made even the slightest effort to keep up appearances.

We wouldn't put it past Corbett's cronies in the OAG to rustle up some charges against a Senate Republican or two (or at least an ex-legislator and a crew of staffer) now that his selectivity has been so undeniably exposed.

After all, he got away with a belated, cover-yer-ass "investigation" of House Republicans after spending the better part of the previous year schmoozing them at fund-raisers, secretly meeting them with his campaign manager, giving the go-ahead to swap out computers and who knows what else?

He got away with dredging up some after-the-fact, unrelated charges against Bill DeWeese after it became apparent that letting him slide on "Bonusgate" was the political and prosecutorial screwup of the decade.

He got away with indicting Steve Stetler months after he was embarrassed by the revelation, a year after the fact, that he had ignored incriminating testimony and let him blow off a subpeona (did you know they were optional?).

He got away with letting Todd Eachus off the hook after going to the trouble of making it appear as if charges against him were imminent.

He got away with announcing an investigation of years-old Hershey Trust shenanigans only after he was embarrassed by an Inquirer expose. He has gotten away with cozying up to those self-same trustees in the midst of the so-called investigation at an establishment owned by the very charity they manage.

And if he announces, at this incredibly late date, more than four years after "launching an investigation," indictments of Senate Republicans to cover his ass yet again, he'll probably get away with that, too.


Anonymous said...

Corbett may think he has gotten away, but some insiders are plotting otherwise by preparing to throw out the truth, the smart money is on Cawley now.

Anonymous said...

Costopoulos destroyed Orie Former Chief of Staff on her many non-recollections for truthfullness as she claimed.

Anonymous said...

A member of Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's newly appointed transition team has resigned over an ethics violation at her previous job...she "was not careful enough in separating her political work from her state responsibilities ... She cooperated in the investigation, paid a fine of $4,000, reimbursed the state and promised to never work for state government again.

So easy to save taxpayers time and money of a trial.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
A member of Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's newly appointed transition team has resigned over an ethics violation at her previous job...she "was not careful enough in separating her political work from her state responsibilities ... She cooperated in the investigation, paid a fine of $4,000, reimbursed the state and promised to never work for state government again.

So easy to save taxpayers time and money of a trial.
February 26, 2011 10:36 PM

This was the proper solution all along, but Corbett wanted to be Governor at all costs.

It is shame many good peoples lives have been ruined and some in Prison unfairly and outright wrong in both content and character,

Chicago is wiser than Pennsylvania and why this should not stand on Appeals.

Anonymous said...

Yeah.... there's "not careful enough in separating political work" and there is "using taxpayer dollars to reward political work". Hardly a fine-line differential between the two. More like a vast ocean of criminal intent.

You know what would have saved taxpayers money? Not using them for illegal bonuses in the first place.

Signor Ferrari said...

"...and there is "using taxpayer dollars to reward political work".

Is that why you think people are in jail? You wouldn't know it from the press coverage, but staffers who went to trial were acquitted of all bonus charges.

Anonymous said...

Jane is walking and will be found Not Guilty!

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferrari speaking the truth.

The people that did real crimes saved themselves by pointing at others.

Yet, most of the wrongs were ethics not criminal.

Anonymous said...

Allegheny County Republicans are quietly preparing for a special election to fill State Senator Orie’s seat.

Insiders believe the writing is on the wall. They predict a guilty verdict this week, and even in the unlikely event that Orie is acquitted, they believe it’s best to be prepared.

Several sources point to unflattering newspaper coverage as the defense and prosecution prepare to offer their closing arguments today in Orie’s trial.

The front runner for the GOP nomination appears to be former Congresswoman Melissa Hart, who served as Orie’s predecessor in the State Senate from 1991-2001.

Hart currently chairs the Government Affairs and Relations division of Pittsburgh-based law firm Keevican Weiss Bauerle & Hirsch, according to the group’s website.

Three sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed this account but asked to remain anonymous, citing the the risk of political retribution from Orie or her supporters (especially if she is found not guilty).

Several corroborating accounts also indicate that, according to Hart supporters, a conversation has already taken place between Hart and Senate Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.

Reportedly, the two have discussed the possibility of a Hart candidacy and the chances of having her 10 years of Senate service recognized should she win.

The possibility of regaining her Senate seniority would immediately strengthen the case for Hart, although Crompton noted that time served is just one consideration of committee assignments in the PA Senate.

When asked about a possible candidacy, Hart, like most Allegheny Republicans, demurred.

“I’ve had a lot of people stop me in the street, but that’s really as far as it’s gone. People who know me from when I served in Congress or served in the Senate before, but nothing else really,” she said.

If Orie is convicted, Lieutenant Governor and Senate President Jim Cawley will call a special election to be held within 60 days.

The Republican (and Democratic) committees of each county will select conferees, who will in turn select a nominee.

In a process that is heavily dependent on party activists and insiders, Hart has an edge.

However, she also has a history of bad blood with the Orie clan.

She strongly backed State Rep. Mike Turzai over Orie when Hart left her seat to serve in Congress.

There have even been rumors of Hart supporting Orie’s political opponents across party lines.

That’s why some insiders say Hart’s main challenge, should she decide to run, may come from an Orie loyalist (though there is currently no consensus on who that could be).

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County, the bombastic conservative who caught the GOP establishment off guard with a surprise run for Lieutenant Governor in 2010, could also proceed with a campaign.

Anonymous said...

Jane Orie will have a Double Jeopardy Charge and will not stand trial again, Manning did the best thing for her.

So, she walks!

Signor Ferrari said...

Forgery and perjury are pretty serious crimes. We doubt she'll walk.

Anonymous said...

Republicans often break the law bigger and better than any Democrat, but until the Attorney General Office is fair, reliable, and even in its investigations, only mistakes such the false evidence is available.

Yet, Veon and Cott are still in jail for nothing compared to the Orie's Sisters.

Anonymous said...

R U kidding me…She is guilty and all her and her sisters friends are going to do anything for a mistrial and then it will be swept under the rug..HANG HER

Look at the documents on the post gazette site. Pretty blatant that they forged that.

I seem to recall that the Orie team tried to get these into evidence by cross exam of the government witness.

However she said she did not recall or identify those documents. It seems likely that if they got into evidence, Jane had to identify these documents as legitimate documents and correspondence.

Too bad Corbett did not investigate other Republican Senators, guess he was too busy taking their campaign contributions and afraid nwhat what he would find.

Okay, time to pull the plug. Time for Jane to resign or be expelled

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferrari said...
Forgery and perjury are pretty serious crimes. We doubt she'll walk. March 3, 2011 8:13 PM

This was just a political witch hunt by Zappala anyways, in return for putting Veon behind bars.Good for jane. One of the most honest, moral people I have ever met. Doesn’t surprise me that the other side would go after her.

Anonymous said...

Why we need Prosecutors Misconduct Reforms:

I'm hearing good things about trial by ordeal.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala and his soldiers are marching stridently, exploiting political opponents' weaknesses (self-inflicted and otherwise) while demonstrating a striking lack of self-awareness concerning their own -- returns to the courtroom of Judge (and former prosecutor) Jeffrey Manning tomorrow morning.

Judge Manning apparently proposes to address Jack Orie (left) concerning Mr. Orie's public statements concerning the trial of his sisters, regarding which trial Judge Manning issued an order compelling to the parties to remain silent.

Jack Orie, however, does not appear to be a party.

Perhaps Judge Manning proposes to introduce and enforce an elastic standard with respect to the breadth of his orders?

Creative or expansive interpretations might not be necessary with respect to the public statements that have been issued by the prosecution with respect to the trial since Dec. 15 (when the gag order was issued).

Historic evidence indicates that the district attorney's office is a repeat offender in this context, but that Allegheny County judges can be lenient -- at least, when the extra-order-inary yapping is being done, despite a court order, by the district attorney's office.

We don't expect Mr. Zappala himself to attend tomorrow's hearing, however, despite his office's obvious emphasis on the Orie prosecution; he must be too busy investigating casino lobbyist filings, local angles to the Luzerne County cash-for-jailed-kids scandal, and fraud with respect to placement of inappropriate financial instruments with public agencies by politically connected cream-skimmers (say, members of a Network).

Anonymous said...

Printers are divulging more information than their owners have bargained for. Case in point: the Xerox DocuColor color laser printer.

As part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Machine Identification Code Technology project, the organization published its results after soliciting printouts from the public.

Even on seemingly blank page, the printer is embedding the sheets with a code that can potentially be used to track documents to its original owner.

The EFF's DocuColor Tracking Dot Decoding Guide gives details on how a pattern of tiny yellow dots, reveals the time and date of the printout as well as the serial number of the device used to produce the document.

The 15 by 8 grid is reproduced several times within a printout but is difficult to see with the naked eye. However, with the aid of a blue lamp and under magnification the dots are easy to discern.

As the quality of documents produced from home and business printers has improved, vendors have cooperated with the Secret Service to thwart counterfeiters. However, this has given rise to privacy concerns over non-currency documents.

Yet there are no laws to stop the Secret Service from using printer codes to secretly trace the origin of non-currency documents; only the privacy policy of your printer manufacturer currently protects you.

And no law regulates what sort of documents the Secret Service or any other domestic or foreign government agency is permitted to request for identification, not to mention how such a forensics tool could be developed and implemented in printers in the first place.

The organization also published a list of printers from various manufacturers that prints patterns of yellow dots, but warns that "'no' simply means that we couldn't see yellow dots; it does not prove that there is no forensic watermarking present."


Anonymous said...

Judge Jeffrey Manning displayed displeasure as wel as his prosecutorial bias.

During a hearing concerning compliance with the gag order he had imposed on all participants or some participants so long as you do not include Zappala Office.

Judge Manning then displayed no appetite for quibbling about legal precisions before issuing a formal warning to Mr. Orie, whose attendance had been compelled by Judge Manning.

Judge Manning tiptoed past the district attorney's flagrant violation violations of the order, which unambiguously governed prosecution statements.

The district attorney's office had issued a press release concerning a theatrical search warrant designed to tar the defendants among prospective jurors and provided statements to reporters, but Judge Manning apparently did not issue a formal warning to the district attorney's office.

Nor did the judge compel the relevant representatives of the district attorney's office to appear in court for a scolding.

The prosecution of clan Orie may never reach a verdict, let alone a conviction particularly in Allegheny County, but it already accomplished the improbable making sympathetic figures of the Ories.

Anonymous said...

It's a brittle and gray Sunday morning. The fireplace is fired up and coffee brewed, and one reflexively reaches for the sports section to read Ed Bouchette on the Steelers . . . BUT WAIT.

There's a letter to the editor from Cyril Wecht!

Wecht is the heavyweight champion of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette letter writers, so we couldn't wait to see his thoughts on the Orie trial and his nemesis (one of many for the ex-coroner) Stephen Zappala (below right) the county DA. Wecht scolds Judge Jeffrey Manning for saying in open court that defense evidence was doctored, and naturally impugns the DA's motives in the matter.

Here's the best part:

Judge Jeffrey Manning's vitriolic comments, delivered in such an accusatory manner, may prove to be accurate.

However, he is not a trained questioned document examiner, nor does his judicial post empower him to make a final ruling before all the evidence has been presented.

He should be disqualified as the presiding judge in any further case involving the Ories.

He has unquestionably poisoned any future jury pool.

Inasmuch as both the district attorney and Judge Manning had ample opportunity to inspect all the evidentiary documents before the trial ended, one must question why this challenge was not made before jury deliberations began.

Several astute legal observers have suggested that the district attorney was concerned about the verdict.

Just imagine what an acquittal -- or even a hung jury -- would have meant to Steve Zappala's real objective and ultimate goal, namely, the prosecution of Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

That is what the Orie case is all about.

Squirrel Hill