Sunday, August 2, 2015

Feds Want To Avoid Another Fumo-Like Corruption Sentence

With City Councilman Jack Kelly's former chief of staff, Chris Wright, due to be sentenced Monday on federal corruption charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office went to court yesterday to argue that he deserves more time than a probation officer has recommended. To make the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bresnick brings up in a court filing the controversial recent sentencing of former state Sen. Vince Fumo to 55 months in prison for his own corruption conviction.

Feds Want To Avoid Another Fumo-Like Corruption Sentence

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Chris Wright, former chief of staff for Councilman Jack Kelly.
Chris Wright, former chief of staff for Councilman Jack Kelly.

With City Councilman Jack Kelly's former chief of staff, Chris Wright, due to be sentenced Monday on federal corruption charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office went to court yesterday to argue that he deserves more the double the time in prison than a probation officer has recommended.  To make the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bresnick brings up in a court filing the controversial recent sentencing of former state Sen. Vince Fumo to 55 months in prison for his own corruption conviction.  You can read the filing here.

"The Fumo sentence was, as scores of citizens stated in unsolicited letters and phone calls to our office and to the district judge’s chambers, a travesty," Bresnick wrote in a filing for U.S. District Justice Eduardo Robreno. "Besides imposing insufficient punishment for the offenses at issue, its worst legacy will arise if other judges follow that court’s mistaken lead, and use the Fumo sentence as a baseline for public corruption offenses. That should not happen. This Court should not follow a path of condoning and lightly punishing breaches of the public trust by public officials."

Bresnick argues that Wright, convicted in February along with Andy Teitelman and Ravinder Chawla, should serve six and a half years in prison, not the 27-33 months recommended by the probation officer.  Teitelman was Kelly's campaign manager.  Chawla was one of his most generous campaign contributors.  They both will be sentenced next month. Wright received a rent-free apartment near Rittenhouse Square and free legal services from Chawla and Teitelman in return for help on real estate, zoning and tax issues.

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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