By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bench warrant was signed today by a Philadelphia judge after a state representative charged with political corruption missed his latest court date.
But his defense lawyer says the whole misunderstanding will be cleared up tomorrow morning.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office says State Rep. JP Miranda failed to show for his hearing and did not give notice to the court, so it requested a bench warrant for his arrest.
Judge Edward Wright, who was to preside over the status-of-counsel hearing, signed the bench warrant.
But defense lawyer Charles Peruto Jr. says it was a mix-up with his office.
“I can assure you, these things happen day in and day out at the Justice Center,” Peruto told KYW Newsradio.
Peruto says at 9:30 this morning, while waiting for the hearing to begin, he texted Miranda and found out the defendant was in Harrisburg.
Peruto says Miranda raced back to Philadelphia and showed up just before noon, at which time the court clerk told him to appear first thing Wednesday morning and the bench warrant would be rescinded.
Miranda, who represents North Philadelphia, and his sister, Michelle Wilson, were charged in January in an alleged scheme to pay a “ghost employee” to divert cash to Wilson (see related story).
When Miranda was first charged, Peruto claimed it was a “vindictive prosecution” because both Miranda and DA Seth Williams were dating the same woman last year. Williams denied the claim, which he said was “completely false.”