PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lawyers for a long-time political consultant involved in Congressman Bob Brady’s campaigns argued motions in connection with Ken Smukler’s upcoming corruption trial. Prosecutors say they are about to file a superceding indictment, piling on more charges.
One motion by Ken Smukler’s defense team seeks to dismiss the indictment against him for what they call “vindictive prosecution,” claiming it grew out of Smukler’s role in bringing to light the “Porngate email scandal.” It tainted judges, prosecutors, and other officials, forcing two Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices from the bench.
Lawyer Jon Fetteroff says the feds went after his client because Smukler wrote critical op-ed pieces about the pornographic, racially insensitive emails traded among those officials, including Assistant US Attorneys.
An indignant Assistant US Attorney Eric Gibson called that motion a “woeful reach,” saying not only did it involve another jurisdiction, the federal prosecutors handling the Smukler case at that point never even heard of the Porngate email scandal, which he said he finds “irrelevant and uninteresting.”
Another defense motion seeks to suppress the results of a warrant to search Smukler’s home. They claim the FBI was investigating another case, involving Marjorie Margolis Mezvinsky’s attempt to regain a seat in Congress, unrelated to the Brady matter.
The defense claims the feds “intentionally and recklessly” omitted a Federal Elections Commission ruling clearing Smukler and Mezvinsky. Prosecutor Jonathan Kravis contends that the FEC was “mislead” by the campaign.
Smukler is accused of disguising what prosecutors allege were illegal campaign contributions on behalf of Congressman Brady, to persuade Brady’s challenger in the 2012 primary, to drop out.
Brady’s former challenger, Jimmie Moore, pleaded guilty to charges of filing a false campaign finance reports; a second top political aide to Brady who was also indicted, Don Jones, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Brady was investigated for more than a year, but the statute of limitations expired in January on almost all of the charges that Brady may have faced. As that became known, Brady made a surprise announcement – the 11-term Congressman would not seek reelection.