PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The jury in the corruption trial of State Sen. Jane Orie will resume deliberations Thursday morning.
Although defense attorney Bill Costopoulos told the jury at the beginning of his closing argument that the prosecution used a lot of smoke to cover the truth, the prosecutor began his closing argument by saying the smoke came for Orie’s office.
Now it’s up to the jury to decide who to believe.
State Sen. Orie and her sister, Janine, are on trial for theft of services and conspiracy charges.
The defense attorney attacked the credibility of Orie’s former chief of staff, Jamie Pavlot. She was seen in surveillance pictures as campaign material was taken out of the legislative office once the investigation became known.
Pavlot testified under a grant of immunity. State Sen. Orie’s lawyer argued: “Jamie Pavlot saved her pension and her job. She’s sitting out in Cranberry making $80,000 a year doing nothing. But she only got that after cutting a deal.”
Janine Orie’s lawyer, James DePasquale, said his client was referred to very little by witnesses.
“They needed a fall guy, a patsy, to sit next to Jane Orie. They didn’t have the evidence or courage to indict Justice Joan Orie Melvin,” he said.
But prosecutor Lawrence Claus said the senator tried to cover up by hastily arranging for a campaign office upstairs from the legislative office.
“If you had a campaign headquarters for years, where did it go? Did it get lost? Why are her first words in an email, ‘We need to find one’?” he said. “She had to fulfill the charade and make it look like a functioning campaign office. She had a political machine paid for, thank you, by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.”
State Sen. Jane Orie
Pennsylvania State Senate