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Lawyers for longtime Philadelphia Rep. Chaka Fattah on Monday blamed his political demise on former aides, saying “they stole in his name to pay off his debts, all without his knowledge,” reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

The attorneys made the dramatic statement during the start of a federal corruption trial after he and four codefendants were indicted last summer on racketeering conspiracy charges.

From The News:

But prosecutors balked at that depiction, calling the Philadelphia Democrat a thief and a corrupt politician eager to shift blame for his crimes to anyone but himself.

The conflicting portraits of Fattah – who rose from West Philadelphia more than two decades ago to become a congressman and eventually a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee – opened what is expected to be one of the region’s most closely watched political trials in years.


Mark Lee, a lawyer for Fattah, took aim at Gregory Naylor and Thomas Lindenfeld, two political consultants who worked for Fattah’s 2007 mayoral campaign. After pleading guilty to crimes of their own, both are expected to testify as key government witnesses against the congressman.

The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks.



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