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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Philadelphia City Rep. Desiree Peterkin-Bell, who is accused of public corruption, is headed to trial after she waived her preliminary hearing on Thursday.
After her hearing, Peterkin-Bell kept shouting “Justice for Jasmine” outside of the Criminal Justice Center. That case revolves around a 7-year-old girl shot to death on Sunday in Houston, but when she was asked about her own case, she refused to talk about it.
The former representative is accused of taking 400 Uber trips in 2015, costing more than $8,000, and spending nearly $1,700 on a wedding anniversary trip to Portland, Oregon. Those are just some of the $20,000 worth of expenses prosecutors allege were made by Peterkin-Bell using money from a nonprofit called The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.
The alleged purchases were made while Peterkin-Bell worked as former Mayor Michael Nutter’s aide. She has denied the charges.
Her attorney, Michael Sterling, says he wanted Peterkin-Bell’s preliminary hearing waived to “expedite the process in an effort to more quickly prove her innocence.”
“What we intend to do is talk to current and former city officials, current and former employees, and we are confident when we are finished doing that, we will exonerate Desiree Bell,” said Sterling.
If convicted on all counts, Peterkin-Bell could spend more than three decades in jail. There is no word on a trial date.
She is set to be formally arraigned later this month.