By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Now three and a half years after federal prosecutors tried once powerful State Senator Vince Fumo and got a conviction on corruption charges, they’re still trying to extract restitution money, to go to one of his victims.
Federal prosecutor Robert Zauzmer told the three judges on Third Circuit Court of Appeals that his office has a statutory obligation to seek full restitution.
He says Fumo, now serving a give year prison sentence, should be required to pay an additional $800,000 in restitution to cover losses incurred by Citizens Alliance, the non-profit that Fumo founded.
In Zauzmer’s words, “we could collect it from Fumo faster than it would take me to walk out of the courtroom.”
Prosecutors believe the presiding judge in this case, Ronald Buckwalter, was in error in splitting the restitution issue with Fumo’s former aide, Ruth Arnao. Referring to Arnao, Zauzmer says you “can’t get blood from a rock.”
Fumo’s lawyer, Peter Goldberger, told the appeals court it was clear that Judge Buckwalter did not abuse his discretion.