Former Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a conviction on charges of money laundering and bribery. He was also found guilty of using charity money and government grants for his own personal use.
Fattah has until January 25th, 2017 to report to prison.
During sentencing, a federal judge in Philadelphia told Fattah he found the crime “astonishing” because both Fattah and his television anchor wife, Renee Chenault-Fattah, had a $500,000 combined annual income.
Vincent Thompson, News Correspondent for WURD, spoke with Roland Martin about the ex-congressman’s sentencing during Tuesday’s morning NewsOne Now.
Thompson explained Philadelphians are concerned about the lengthy prison sentence Fattah received. According to Thompson, Fattah will have to serve at least eight years, which is “higher than some sentences that other politicians in Philadelphia who have been convicted of similar crimes had gotten.”
Martin asked Thompson about reports detailing Fattah staffers’ doubt regarding the case. Thompson told Martin, “One of the things that they’ve been bringing up is the fact that one of the jurors that was deliberating in the case [Juror #12] was suddenly taken off of the case by the judge.”
Records of the removal of Juror 12 are sealed and no one has heard an explanation as to why that one particular juror was removed from the Fattah case. In speaking with members of the media, the 12th juror reportedly said, “I didn’t think the prosecution proved their case.”
Thompson said, “There is a little bit of suspicion as to why 11 folks felt as though the prosecution proved their case––this twelfth juror was ready to stand his ground, say ‘I don’t think the congressman is guilty,’ but then suddenly got taken off of the case.
“The alternate came on and they found the congressman guilty, but the question is if that 12th juror had remained on, there would have had a hung jury. It could have completely changed the outlook of Congressman Fattah,” said Thompson.
Watch Roland Martin, Vincent Thompson and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the sentencing of former Congressman Chaka Fattah in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty