PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A judge in Allegheny County has declared a mistrial in the corruption trial of state Senator Jane Orie and her sister, Janine.
Shortly before noon, Judge Jeffrey Manning ordered jurors to stop deliberating after prosecutors raised concerns that the jury may have fraudulent documents.
At issue were documents signed by former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot. The defense presented the documents in their case; but two documents purported to have her signature appear to have been cut and pasted from an original from 2004.
One signature from 2006 is supposed to be Pavlot’s signature on a letter in which she takes responsibility for staff mileage reimbursements.
Some markings in an original signature, which was below someone else’s — appear again in the alleged forgery.
When Judge Manning saw the documents he said, “Ray Charles could see that these documents were fraudulently composed.”
The panel of jurors met for two and a half hours before retiring last night. They had resumed deliberations this morning prior to the judge’s order.
A little more than two hours after halting deliberations, Judge Manning declared a mistrial.
Orie is charged with using her state-funded staff to perform campaign and fundraising work for herself and a third sister, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.
Orie Melvin is not charged.