A friend and political supporter of state Sen. LeAnna Washington is asking people to contribute at least $100 to help pay "mounting legal bills" in her criminal case.
Dr. J. Louis Felton, pastor at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, wrote in a letter last week that Washington's "character is unblemished and her reputation untarnished, though she has practically been tried and convicted in the press on unfounded charges."
Washington, charged in March with using state resources to pay for political fundraisers, "vehemently denies the allegations and is fighting the charges," Felton wrote.
Washington finished second in a three-way May 20 Democratic primary election for the 4th Senate District, which stretches from Logan in Philadelphia north to Willow Grove in Montgomery County. She has served in the Senate since 2005 and also served in the state House from 1993 to 2005.
"As a public servant for the past 20+ years, Sen. Washington does not have adequate financial resources to fight the government alone," Felton wrote.
Washington's annual salary as a state senator is $84,012.
Felton, who has given Washington at least one campaign contribution, was invited by her in January 2013 to serve as guest chaplain in the state Senate's chambers in Harrisburg.
Felton also serves as third vice president of the politically active Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity.
Felton's letter lists attorney Michael Drossner as the "independent trustee" for the Senator LeAnna Washington Legal Defense Fund. Drossner declined to comment about the fund.
Washington's defense attorney, Henry Hockeimer Jr., said he doesn't know much about the fund.