Castor corruption probe?

January 27, 2009 3:43:46 PM PST
"I've never heard of a public official incriminating himself at someone else's trial," said Commissioner Joe Hoeffel.

Hoeffel's not letting up on long time political rival, Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor. Castor, who is the former district attorney in Montgomery County, testified at the corruption trial of former State Senator Vince Fumo. During his testimony he said he employed Christian Marrone, Fumo's estranged son-in-law, as an assistant D.A. but used Marrone's contacts and fund raising skills on county time as he strategized for his ill-fated campaign for state attorney general.

Hoeffel is calling for a corruption probe of Castor by the new D.A.'s public corruption unit.

"What we have here is an admission by Commissioner Castor, under oath, that he engaged in this activity which appears to be the same violation of the law that Senator Fumo is being accused of."

Castor was clearly squirming after he left the witness stand Monday. "Well I'm sure I didn't do anything illegal uh I probably shouldn't have used the county email," Castor said.

Risa Ferman, the new D.A., was Castor's top assistant for years. Her first reaction to Hoeffel's demand was to attack him.

"This strikes me as something that is political grand standing and, and nothing more."

But pressed on the question of Castor's activities Ferman said this:

"I do not believe that based upon an allegation a personnel type allegation or a violation of county email policy that the district attorney should conduct a criminal investigation."

Hoeffel said the Castor case may need to be kicked up to the state attorney general, a special independent prosecutor or even to federal prosecutors.

The stage is set now for more nastiness between these bitter political enemies Monday Commissioner Hoeffel vowing once again to not let this matter quote, "swept under the carpet".

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