PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fred Crawford, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s long-time bodyguard, spent two hours in front of a federal grand jury.
The focus of the questions – Ravenstahl’s alleged late-night activities.
“I think what you will find is that there have been a lot of taxpayers’ dollars wasted on overtime for bodyguards just so the mayor could have a designated driver and a chauffeur while he went to bars and caroused late into the early morning hours,” Bob Stewart, Crawford’s attorney, said.
The late-night hours cost money.
As KDKA first reported, the mayor’s security detail cost the taxpayers well over $100,000 per year in most years. Crawford making well over $40,000 in overtime in one year.
Sources now confirm the federal grand jury is looking at two federal laws in the Ravenstahl investigation, theft of honest services and theft or bribery related to federal funds.
So, what does that mean in common terms?
“Did the public official use public resources for self-dealing or self-gain?” Mark Rush, an attorney, said.
Rush successfully defended Dr. Cyril Wecht against similar federal charges in 2008, resulting in a hung jury. In 2009, all charges were dropped.
“Dr. Wecht’s prosecution clearly showed that when the government attempts to overcharge… there’s pitfalls and it’s a slippery slope along the way,” said Rush.
Rush believes federal prosecutors learned from the Wecht case, and if they file charges in this case or any other corruption case, their focus will be a lot more narrow and directly tied to laws that currently exist.
Meanwhile, there’s no comment from Ravenstahl’s attorney, Chuck Porter, or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.