Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Chaka Fattah has plead not guilty to charges of corruption.
He has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the federal grand jury indictment on charges of bribery, racketeering, money laundering, bank fraud, wire and mail fraud and filing false statements.
“I’d like to say I am not guilty,” Fattah told U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice, according to a recording of the proceedings released by the court. He later said “I plead innocent, not guilty.”
Fattah was indicted in late July along with four others, as a culmination of a years long probe into his 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign.
If he is convicted, Fattah could face up to 30-years in prison.
For his part, Fattah has characterized the whole procedure as a witch-hunt.
“It is no secret that for decades, appropriators in both the House and the Senate have been the target of unconstitutional and illegal investigations,” Fattah wrote in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Judiciary Committee
The prosecutions case is centered around Fattah’s secret efforts to re-pay an illegal loan from an unidentified Virginia businessman.
Fattah is also accused of using campaign funds to pay off his son’s student loans and appoint a friend, Herbert Vederman to an ambassadorship.
Fattah was released on $100, 000 bail.
[Politico][Reuters][Photo courtesy of philly.com]