Sources: Problem in Rep. Fattah jury room

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Sources confirm to Action News that there is some kind of problem involving the jurors in the corruption trial of Rep. Chaka Fattah in Philadelphia. (WPVI)

Sources confirm to Action News that there is some kind of problem involving the jurors in the corruption trial of Rep. Chaka Fattah in Philadelphia.

However, the nature of that problem has not been disclosed. The judge abruptly dismissed the jurors late afternoon Thursday.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys were in the judge's chambers for most of the afternoon.

One juror was dismissed earlier this week for an undisclosed reason.

Fattah and his four co-defendants are charged with racketeering and conspiracy, plus 28 other counts including money laundering and fraud.

If convicted, the 11-term Philadelphia congressman could be looking at a long prison term.

Prosecutors say he stole from taxpayers and charities to pay off personal and political debts.

Fattah denies the charges, saying the Justice Department has long been on a witch hunt against him and his family. He son is now serving a 5 year term on a bank and tax fraud conviction.

The government's case hinges on the testimony of two cooperating witnesses. They are former Fattah political operatives who have pleaded guilty and hope to get lenient sentences in exchange for their testimony against the 59-year-old Fattah.

Also awaiting a verdict: former deputy mayor Herb Vederman, a Fattah friend the government claims was an ATM for Fattah, paying him in exchange for Fattah lobbying the White House to get him an ambassadorship.

Related Topics:
politicschaka fattahcorruptionphilly newsfraudCenter City Philadelphia
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