March 2, 2018 / 3:50 AM / a year ago

Pennsylvania mayor convicted on 47 corruption charges

(Reuters) - The long-serving mayor of Pennsylvania’s third-most populous city was convicted on Thursday on federal charges he shook down vendors for campaign funds, a U.S. prosecutor and local media reported.

Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski, who took office in 2006 and was re-elected last year while under indictment, was convicted of 47 charges in the “pay-to-play” scheme and not guilty of seven, the Allentown Morning Call and the website reported.

“The jury has held Mayor Pawlowski accountable for selling his office to the highest bidder to fund his personal ambitions,” U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen said in a statement.

During a six-week trial in Allentown, prosecutors portrayed Pawlowski as an ambitious manipulator who forced city vendors to pay for his plans to make a 2016 run for the U.S. Senate.

Pawlowski’s attorneys attempted to show him as a dedicated public servant brought down by corrupt aides. Evidence at the trial included FBI phone taps as well as recordings made by Pawlowski aides who wore hidden microphones and cameras to record conversations for federal investigators. 

The website reported that Pawlowski would forfeit his office and no sentencing date had been set. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney could not be reached for comment.

Pawlowski was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and multiple counts of bribery, attempted extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud.

He was acquitted of attempted extortion, three counts of bribery and three counts of mail fraud, said.

His convictions for conspiracy, lying to the FBI and one of his bribery convictions each carries a five-year maximum prison sentence. Each of his remaining bribery convictions carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each of his remaining convictions of mail fraud and wire fraud carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, the website said.

Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Michael Perry

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