By: Harold Hayes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – At a hearing to determine whether her defense attorney can continue to represent her, Sen. Jane Orie testified that she wants to keep William Costopoulos as her lawyer.

The result of the hearing was that Costopoulos will remain on the case and will not be called as a witness in Orie’s corruption trial.

However, she has agreed to stipulate that the alleged forged documents were not tampered with by either her lawyer or the prosecution.

Earlier in the day, Judge Jeffrey Manning said alleged forged documents in her corruption case raise issues concerning when the documents came into the lawyer’s possession and whether he or his staff might have to testify about their chain of custody.

The judge said Fifth Amendment, attorney client privilege, conflict of interest and effectiveness of counsel issues must be addressed.

After Orie testified, her lawyer offered to stipulate that she would waive certain rights and submit a stipulation to the next jury that the documents were not altered by the prosecution – as once inferred – or by her, or by her own lawyer.

Harold Hayes: “It certainly means you did not forge them.”

“It certainly means that, I gotta tell you, I would like to believe that nobody’s ever believed that, but that had to be aired,” he said.

It still leaves the question of who altered the documents – if they were altered – unanswered.

A jury will look at those issues when the trial continues in February.

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