By Tony Hanson

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A key figure in the Philadelpha Traffic Court ticket-fixing conspiracy pleaded guilty today.

Former court administrator William Hird pleaded guilty to 18 counts of mail and wire fraud and lying to investigators.

Federal prosecutor Anthony Wzorek presented the facts for the guilty plea in court:

“Your honor, Mr. Hird and his co-conspirators and co-schemers acted together to fix tickets in Philadelphia Traffic Court.   Mr. Hird was a key administrator in Philadelphia Traffic Court, being the administrator of records, and acted as almost a middleman or clearinghouse for requests for favors on traffic tickets, from political acquaintances, for ward leaders, freinds, co-workers, other traffic court judges.”

It’s a so-called “open”  plea — the judge is left to determine the sentence later, without a recommendation from prosecutors.  Authorities say guidelines call for a sentence of about 12 to 18 months.

Three judges involved in the case pleaded guilty earlier.   The remaining defendants, including six former judges, are awaiting trial in May.

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