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ABINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia judge says a corruption case against a state senator can go to trial.

District Judge John Kessler ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had provided sufficient evidence to support charges that Sen. LeAnna Washington used her legislative staff for eight years to organize an annual “birthday party” political fundraiser on taxpayer time and using taxpayer resources. (See Previous Story)

Former employee and intern Jamila Carol Hall testified earlier at the preliminary hearing that, as part of her job, she performed numerous tasks in helping organize the party and keep track of the payments to Washington’s campaign.

Defense attorney Henry Hockeimer says the facts don’t amount to criminal conduct and the charges are “thin and specious.”

The 68-year-old Democrat is running for a third full term representing parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

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