Multiple witnesses in the trial of Rep. Robert A. Brady’s former campaign strategist have implicated the congressman for conspiring to commit campaign finance crimes, recasting the spotlight on his past alleged corruption.
Brady, a longtime Philadelphia Democrat who is retiring in at the end of his 11th term in January, allegedly conspired with his former campaign strategists, Ken Smukler and Donald “D.A.” Jones, to pay a 2012 Democratic primary challenger $90,000 for him to exit the race.
Smukler is on trial for five counts involving that payout to Brady’s 2012 challenger, former municipal court judge Jimmie Moore, along with a host of other subsequent corruption charges unrelated to his work for Brady.
Jones entered a plea deal last year and has been cooperating with Smukler’s prosecutors. He testified Monday that Smukler instructed him, at Brady’s direction, to funnel money to Moore’s former campaign manager.
“I was asked the question, how can they move money to Jimmie Moore legally?” Jones said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, recalling a conversation with Brady and Smukler. “I told them I had no idea.”
One of Smukler’s defense team’s primary tactics in the trial has been to argue that Brady’s campaign paid Moore $90,000 for exclusive access to his campaign’s internal polling data so they could suppress it. Brady performed poorly with black constituents, they said.
But Moore testified last week that Brady and Smukler never raised the exclusivity of the polling data during their negotiations with him for the eventual $90,000 pay-off, the Inquirer reported.
Brady eluded prosecution last November after litigators allowed the statute of limitations on his alleged crimes from 2012 and 2013 to expire.
It remains unclear why Brady may have felt he needed Moore to drop from the race.
At the time of the alleged transaction, Moore had less than $5,000 in his war chest, while Brady sat on a cash mound upwards of $750,000.
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