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Deliberations To Resume In Orie Corruption Trial

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jury deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday in the corruption trial of State Sen. Jane Orie.

They will be sequestered until a verdict is reached.

Deliberations started around 8:45 a.m. Friday after four and a half hours Thursday. Just before 3 p.m., the lawyers were summoned to the courtroom. The jury had a question about some of the ethics counts.

The jury put in 12 hours on Friday before retiring for the night.

At the end of almost a month of testimony and exhibits, Orie left the courthouse Thursday after closing arguments knowing her fate is in the jury’s hands.

“It has been a very long and arduous trial as it was last year,” said defense attorney Bill Costopoulos said Thursday. “And make no mistake about it; it is a very stressful hour for the defense. There is nothing more stressful than waiting for a verdict.”

During his closing arguments, Costopoulos painted a picture of staffers who went against the wishes of their boss, doing political work on state time, and blaming former chief-of-staff Jamie Pavlot, who he characterized as someone who blamed her boss and got immunity.

He said intern Jennifer Rioja was having an anxiety attack when she frantically called around to report what she saw as criminal conduct in the office.

However, prosecutor Lawrence Claus said there’s a reason why 24 present and former staffers testified for the prosecution, and that a memo telling staff that they would have to work longer hours during the election season was a smoking gun.

He pointed to the documents that the Secret Service says were forged.

He said, “I don’t know if she did that, but she submitted it to the court and authenticated it. She didn’t have to do the forgery herself to be held accountable for trying to mislead the jury in the first trial.”

Orie is accused of using her staff to do campaign work on state time.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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Deliberations To Resume Friday In Orie Corruption Trial (3/22/12)
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