Pre-Trial Hearing Held For State Sen. Orie

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – State Sen. Jane Orie appeared in court for a hearing Monday. She is accused of abusing her taxpayer funded office by using it for political purposes.

Orie’s lawyers are trying to get this case tossed out before it gets to trial by challenging the search warrants used to gather evidence.

However, if there is a trial, they want a local jury, unlike the prosecution.

Defense attorney Bill Costopoulos asked every agent, in the search of Orie’s office, a number of questions about the search and what they hoped to find.

He also asked questions about the informant, who started the investigation when she went to the district attorney’s office, claimed she knew about political work on state time.

“According to the testimony, she went to the attorney general first, and he didn’t take it, for whatever reason, and this county decided to run with it,” Costopoulos said.

Costopoulos asked questions about search warrants that led to an indictment of  Sen. Orie and her sister.

For example, he claims that when investigators did surveillance of the Orie offices and discovered what they believed to be the removal of evidence, the evidence was old campaign literature from 10 years ago.

The senator’s campaign office at that time is where her legislative office is now.

“I’ve never seen anything quite this aggressive. It is getting very personal. And I don’t like it. And I’m hoping Judge Manning does the appropriate thing, and that is deem these searches and seizures in this manner unreasonable and in violation of everybody’s rights. And I’m talking about mine and yours and suppressing it, and dismissing the charges. That’s where I’m coming from,” Costopoulos said.

However, the prosecution contends that the warrants, even though executed on a sitting state senator, were valid and legal as authorized by a judge.

If the case goes to trial, the prosecution wants an out of county jury to hear it. The reason stems from pre-trial publicity and Orie’s own statements attacking the prosecution claiming a political vendetta.

The judge conducted a test sample of a potential jury pool to see the impact of pre-trial publicity.

Of the 81 people in the jury room, 47 said they heard of the case. Only 10 said they had formed a fixed opinion. While the judge has not made any determination about those numbers, the defense has.

“This district attorney has been picking juries from this county since he was elected. I don’t think he has ever not trusted his people. But he doesn’t trust them in passing judgment on this particular prosecution, and I don’t blame him,” Costopoulos said.

Meanwhile, the defense wants to go over almost all of the 120 search warrants issued in this case.

Testimony in this motions hearing will continue on Tuesday.

  • dennis

    Another well connected corrupt politician, but the big mystery is why people vote for her in the first place. Also, what a awful looking face. She definitely did not get anywhere using her looks, like Sarah Palin did.

  • Witches

    Another wacko politician consulting a soothsayer just like Nancy Raygun….”What do we do now,Jeanne?”….The Witches of Orie…..They look like the cryptkeeper sisters

  • Don-Mars. Pa.

    She worked for the people and thus her offices should be available to be checked at any time. I know a lot of Democrats were happy to see Mike Veon taken away in handcuffs, a crooked politician is a crooked politician, regardless of which party. I’d be willing to bet that most Republicans will defend her to the end. These politicians get so comfortable with their position that they feel they can do whatever they want, its disgusting! I just hope the local channels show her being led out of court in handcuffs the same way Mike Veon and other crooked democrats were.

  • Kathleen

    They need to arrest all the politicians in the U.S.A. for doing political campaigns from their office. What ever happened to the accusations against Congressman Murphy?

  • William

    The Orie case(s) would undo two elections if Zappala has his way. It’s deija vue all over. D.A. Stephen Zappala was impltcated in May Beth Buchanon’s prosec ution of Cyril Wecht that removed Wecht from being Chief Medical Examiner where the outspoken Wecht could second guest the D.A.’s decisions. In the Orie case, there are at least 4 witnesses, including Wecht, who said that Zappala threatend to prosecute anyone who [messed] with his family.
    The Jane Orie and Judge Joan Orie Melvin questined gambling activities in which Zappala’s father, sister and brother are involved.

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