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Vote-Buying Charge Slammed As Pa. Politician’s Trial Opens

January 24, 2017

Law360
By Matt Fair

A Pennsylvania state senator’s federal bribery trial kicked off on Tuesday with opening statements accusing prosecutors of cynically casting an honest effort to help a constituent as an illicit scheme to buy a local democratic official’s support in a bid for a party leadership post.

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP attorney Mark Sheppard told jurors that Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, had agreed to pay $6,000 to help fund a study abroad trip for a local party committeewoman’s daughter independently of his efforts to secure the official’s support in his bid to be elected a ward leader in Philadelphia.

“The evidence in this case will show that what this was a public figure, a politician, who was helping a constituent. It’s the kind of thing that we expect our public officials to do everyday,” Sheppard said. “Don’t let them turn this into something dirty, because the evidence will convince you that it’s not.”

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Farnese is represented by Mark B. Sheppard, Arianna G. Goodman and Michael C. Witsch of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP.

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