By Mike Dougherty


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The six Philadelphia police officers arrested early this morning and charged with corruption appeared this afternoon in federal court.

US marshals marched the handcuffed officers into a federal courtroom for a pre-arraignment hearing.  All six defendants entered pleas of not guilty.

Attorney Brian McMonagle represents Officer Thomas Liciardello, who is facing 22 counts of extortion, armed robbery, and falsifying police records.

“My client vehemently denies these allegations, and he looks forward to clearing his good name, and he looks forward to going to trial and proving that these allegations are all false,” McMonagle said outside the federal courthouse at Sixth and Arch Streets following the proceedings.

McMonagle wants the public to consider where the allegations are coming from before rushing to judgment:  “The government says convicted criminals are making these accusations in each and every case.”

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And he says there is little hard evidence to support the charges.

Michael Diamonstein, who represents another of the other officers charged, was similarly optimistic.

“I can tell you that John Speiser is a nearly 20-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department.  He categorically denies these charges, and we look forward to proving it in court,” Diamonstein said.

All six officers are being held until their next hearing, scheduled for next Monday.


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