Monday, February 9, 2009

Democrat culture of corruption

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to testify Monday at corruption trial of former state senator
By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press Writer 1:03 PM PST, February 8, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The defense in the federal corruption trial of a former state senator is aiming to roll out its big guns Monday with the testimony of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.Rendell is expected to provide brief testimony that acknowledges the long hours Vincent Fumo worked on behalf of the state when he was in the Senate.
"They worked their hearts out here. They work a minimum of 10-hour days and at budget time 20-hour days," Rendell said last week at the Capitol."The senator himself, although out of the state a lot, he is always on the phone talking about different issues," Rendell added. "I get harassing phone calls from the senator all the time when he is outside of the state."Fumo, 65, is charged with defrauding the state Senate, a museum and a nonprofit run by aides out of $3.5 million in goods and services. Prosecutors say he spent nearly one-fourth of his time on vacation — at his waterfront Florida mansion, his New Jersey shore home or on museum-funded yachts off Martha's Vineyard — and used the ill-begotten funds to support his lifestyle.
Defense lawyer Dennis Cogan said last week that Rendell worked with Fumo for many years, "so he knows about the work ethic ... wherever (Fumo) is, whether it's in Florida or Martha's Vineyard or wherever."Earlier this month, a state-paid driver testified that he drove Fumo to Rendell's house late at night for work-related meetings, one of many state employees who have supported defense claims that Fumo's staff put in long hours, even if they did personal chores for the boss on state time.Rendell said he didn't know if he could help Fumo defend himself against the 139 fraud, conspiracy and obstruction counts, but would simply answer whatever questions he is asked.A retired state trooper has testified that Fumo once ordered him to investigate whether Rendell was using union labor at a shore house he built at the New Jersey shore. Fumo was supporting Rendell's primary opponent at the time in the 2002 governor's race and thought the labor issue, if true, could be used to attack Rendell.Rendell is expected on the witness stand Monday morning, and Fumo could follow later in the day if he decides to testify.Fumo, a lawyer and banker who maneuvered his way to the top of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee during 30-year senate career, beat two previous indictments early in his political career.

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