Rep. Chaka Fattah racketeering case sent to jury

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The racketeering case against Congressman Chaka Fattah, an 11-term Democrat from Philadelphia, is now in the hands of the jury. (WPVI)

The racketeering case against Congressman Chaka Fattah, an 11-term Democrat from Philadelphia, is now in the hands of the jury.

Fattah stands accused of taking an illegal $1 million campaign loan from a friend to fund a failed 2007 mayoral bid and using a federal grant to repay most of it.

Judge Harvey Bartle spent four hours charging the jury on Wednesday, instructing them in the law and reading them 120 pages on what their duty is here: to vote not guilty if they have a reasonable doubt.

One juror was dismissed Wednesday morning. The reason so far not disclosed.

Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Kravis said in his closing argument that Fattah also used nonprofit funds to enrich his family and friends.

Defense lawyers say the plots were hatched by two political consultants who have pleaded guilty in the case and testified against Fattah.

The defense acknowledged Fattah may have gotten himself in financial trouble after a failed 2007 mayoral bid, but they said any help from friends was above board.

Fattah, 59, lost his bid for re-election in the April Democratic primary.

Related Topics:
politicschaka fattahcorruptionphilly newsfraudCenter City Philadelphia
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