By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Government prosecutors are seeking more restitution from disgraced former Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Fumo, just released from prison after serving time for his conviction on 137 counts of fraud (see related stories).
Fumo has already paid millions of dollars in restitution but the government is asking a judge to order Fumo to pay another three-quarters of a million. The judge’s ruling is expected this afternoon.
There are lots of hard feelings and bitterness among all the parties involved after about a half-dozen years of hotly contested court fights, leading up to the trial ending in conviction on every count.
What came through at courtroom arguments this morning was the ongoing animus. Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense were each alleging that the other side was lying or misleading the judge, essentially misrepresenting the facts.
Defense attorneys suggested an ongoing vendetta against Fumo which continues in the latest motion for higher restitution.
There were even signs of tension between the judge and federal prosecutor Robert Zauzmer. At one point during some tense arguments the led to an exchange, Judge Ronald Buckwalter told Zauzmer, “You and I will never agree on anything.”
Later in the morning, the judge suggested he would not be surprised if there were yet another appeal by the government of his eventual ruling today. Prosecutors previously appealed Buckwalter’s original sentence for Fumo (both prison time and restitution), saying it was too light. An appeals court agreed, and in response Buckwalter added some months to Fumo’s original sentence.