PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – State Sen. Jane Orie took the stand in her corruption trial on Monday.

Prosecutors say she and her sister, Janine, illegally used the senator’s staff for campaign work. That is something Sen. Orie said she never asked them to do.

She told jurors that when she once found out an intern had mistakenly printed a legislative document on campaign letterhead, she became furious. She said she told everyone within earshot, “This will not happen in my legislative office.”

For hours on the stand, Orie recounted memos and emails that dated back to 2001. Her defense attorneys tried to frame her as a methodical, credible legislator who considers ethics a No. 1 priority of her service.

She and her sister, Janine, are on trial for allegedly allowing campaign work to be performed by Orie’s state-funded staff. The prosecution says it cost taxpayers time and money when the staff allegedly performed work to benefit a third sister, State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

The defense says any campaign work for her sister or for Orie herself was done on personal or comp time and they used dozens of communication between Orie and her former chief of staff to try to prove that.

For example:

“No political work in office. Use comp time, lunch, etc.”
“Please do (political work) on personal accounts. Make sure calls are made outside the office.”
“We do need to be vigilant about comp work outside the office. … Want rules followed.”

The trial resumes Tuesday. Orie still faces cross examination by the prosecution.

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