Attorneys Say Tom Corbett Shouldn't Prosecute

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett violated state election law by using his campaign cell phone to call his state office and abused the grand jury process for his own political gain, a defense attorney said Friday.

Harrisburg lawyer Joshua D. Lock asked a judge to dismiss criminal charges against his clients filed by Corbett, who is a candidate for governor, because he claims Corbett engaged in the same activities that led to their charges: using state resources for campaigns. He cited Corbett's use of a state driver to take him to state and campaign events. Corbett says the driver is an agent providing security.

"Unless he is a complete and total hypocrite, what he (Corbett) does should set an example for everyone else in this state," Lock said.

Prosecutors denied the charges. It might be called "accusing the accuser, or the politician's defense," said Chief Deputy Attorney General Christopher Carusone. "It's a diversion," Carusone told the court. Another chief deputy in Corbett's office, Frank Fina, called it "political theater."

Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis said he expects to rule by Monday or Tuesday.

Lock represents Rep. Brett Feese, R-Lycoming County, and Stephen Stetler, a former Democratic legislator and an ex-member of Gov. Ed Rendell's administration. They are accused of using state resources for campaigns.

Lock asked Lewis to dismiss the charges and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Corbett's use of his campaign cell phone to call his state office. Lock claimed Corbett placed 103 calls to state numbers during his re-election campaign in 2008. …