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Jury Begins Deliberations In Orie Melvin Trial

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The jury has been dismissed for the weekend after beginning deliberations Friday afternoon on the fate of suspended State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie.

Deliberations got underway around 2 p.m. About an hour after getting started, the jury asked for written definitions of the charges against the defendants.

The jury was then dismissed around 4:30 p.m. They will resume deliberations on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Closing arguments were presented this morning in the corruption trial.

Prosecutor Patrick Casey, who is representing Orie Melvin said, “The North Star of this case is hard work and respect for the law. The judicial work got done.”

On Wednesday, the defense rested its case after challenging a report by the prosecution’s investigator who said the defendants diverted $33,000 in services owed state taxpayers directing political work in judicial offices.

The defense argued that judicial work got done, even during the years Melvin campaigned for the Supreme Court.

Orie Melvin’s sister, Janine, is also accused in the case of conspiring with Joan Orie Melvin.

“Janine was the secretary,” Janine Orie’s defense attorney James DePasquale said. “Is she anything more than collateral damage? Anything more than a patsy because of her name?”

However, prosecutor Lawrence Claus countered saying, “They considered Janine the political brains in the family.”

The jury was given instruction from Judge Lester Nauhaus at 1 p.m. Friday just before beginning deliberations.

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