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Fireworks at the Fumo trial

February 18, 2009 4:03:33 PM PST
It was a packed courtroom today as former state Senator Vince Fumo finished off his testimony at his federal corruption trial.And the proceedings provided plenty of fireworks.

Once incident centered around lawyer Dick Sprague, who represented Fumo early on in the case until they had a falling out.

Fumo has admitted stepping up security by deleting emails and wiping computers as the FBI closed in. He says he did it because Sprague and another lawyer told him he didn't have to save anything because he hadn't been subpoenaed yet.

Sprague was asked if he ever gave that advice.

"No, I've never given such advice," Sprague said in court. When the prosecutor asked him why not, Sprague replied, "Because that's not the law. The law is that when there is an investigation and you learn of it you cannot destroy or do anything with any documents that might be the subject of that investigation."

It was a devastating moment for Fumo's defense.

Fumo and Dick Sprague had been friends for more than 30 years, a father/son relationship as Sprague described it.

Asked if they were still friends, Sprague said, "Not in any way."

Earlier, when Fumo was on the stand, he clashed sharply with prosecutor John Pease.

Fumo's computer guy, Leonard Luchko, has pled guilty to destroying evidence.

As the probe was heating up, Fumo and Luchko kept close, even after Luchko was arrested.

The prosecution contends Fumo was trying to keep him from cooperating with the government.

"That's an outrageous charge," Fumo said in court. "You know it, I know it. You're doing whatever you can to try and taint me here. But, that's outrageous. This kids was down, he had a mother, 70 or 80 years old, who every time he went to her house, Agent Humphries threatened her and said..."

Fumo was then cut off by the prosecutor, who objected and called Fumo's statement outrageous.

"It's the truth!" Fumo replied.

Fumo faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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