Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Orie Says Politics Kept out of Office

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Orie Says Politics Kept out of Office

Article excerpt

State Sen. Jane Orie's lawyer spent a second day Saturday trying to show that his client kept politics out of her legislative offices, but prosecutors elicited damaging new testimony from the senator's former chief of staff.

To show that Ms. Orie followed the rules, defense attorney William Costopoulos cited an exchange between the Republican senator and a staffer who had broached a political issue in a Senate office email. Ms. Orie, of McCandless, replied that she handled political matters through her personal phone number.

Mr. Costopoulos also asked key prosecution witness Jamie Pavlot, the senator's former chief of staff, how Senate staffers responded when constituents walked into one of Ms. Orie's legislative offices and offered campaign help.

"We would thank them" but ask to get back to them, Ms. Pavlot said. If possible, she said, staffers asked the visitors to step outside the office to wrap up the conversation.

Ms. Orie and her sister, Janine Orie, are charged with using legislative resources to campaign for the senator and another sibling, now state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin. …

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