Fumo defense begins closing arguments

February 25, 2009 4:36:10 PM PST
The prosecution has finished its three day closing arguments in the Vince Fumo corruption trial. "You see the same very clear picture over and over and over again of smart man who knows the rules, knows what he's doing, and just wants everything for himself," said the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer.

Former State Senator Vince Fumo is charged with perpetrating $2 million in fraud of the Pennsylvania Senate by having state employees and private contractor do personal and political errands for him on state time.

He's also charged with defrauding Citizen's Alliance to the tune of nearly $1.5 million to buy tools, consumer goods and other items, and taking in annual free yacht cruises around Martha's Vinyard with his inner circle of friends from the Seaport Museum where he was board member.

Always, the government says, spending other people's money.

"So what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is an open extravaganza. You've got senate workers on senate time, you've got luxury vehicles bought by Citizen's Alliance. You have these glamourous yachts owned by the Seaport Museum, all at his disposal for his vacation, year after year after year. As I said yesterday, you cannot make this stuff up," Zauzmer said.

Tuesday afternoon the attorney for Ruth Arnao, Fumo's co-defendant, started his closing argument to the jury. Arnao was senate aide to Fumo, and later executive director of Citizen's Alliance.

Among the charges she faces here: 18 counts of obstruction of justice.

Her lawyer has launched a "reasonable doubt" defense.

"There is no live witness against Ruth regarding these obstruction charges," said Ed Jacobs, Arnao's lawyer.

The defense teams continues its closing arguments Thursday. Jury deliberations are expected to begin early next week.

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