PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Closing arguments began Wednesday morning in the corruption trial of State Sen. Jane Orie and her sister.
Defense attorney William Costopoulos took an hour and a half to present his closing arguments. He blamed the senator’s chief of staff for campaign work done in the legislative office.
He told the jury that the prosecution “created a lot of smoke in this case. And the biggest smoke bomb was chief of staff Jamie Pavlot… She’s sitting out in Cranberry, making $80,000 a year, keeping her pension and doing nothing because she cut a deal.”
Pavlot testified against Orie under a grant of immunity.
“The senator’s fault in this is placing trust in her staff,” Costopoulos said.
Defense attorney James DePasquale told the jury there was very little if any evidence presented against his client, Janine Orie.
“They needed a fall guy, a patsy to sit with Jane Orie. They didn’t have the evidence or the courage to indict Justice Joan Orie Melvin. The only person who should have been indicted is Jamie Pavlot,” said DePasquale.
State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has not been charged in the case.
Prosecutor Lawrence Claus was set to begin his closing arguments after lunch.