PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jury selection is now underway in the corruption trial for suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie-Melvin and her sister, Janine.
Orie-Melvin huddled with defense attorneys early Wednesday morning at the Allegheny County Courthouse. She’s now suspended from the bench and facing serious charges, including four felonies.
Orie-Melvin is accused of using her judicial staff to run her election campaigns in 2003 and 2009.
When KDKA’s Paul Martino asked her about the charges, she merely smiled and walked away.
Her sister, Janine, worked as the justice’s administrative assistant. She’s also charged in the case.
A third sister, former state senator Jane Orie, is already serving two-and-a-half to six years in prison after being convicted of similar charges.
The Orie family, Republicans, have claimed the prosecution is politically motivated by District Attorney Stephen Zappala, a Democrat. Zappala denies it.
They hope to have a jury selected in the next two days. The trial is expected to run about two weeks.