Congress

DOJ won’t retry ex-Rep. Fattah on overturned convictions, but that won’t reduce his prison time

Philadelphia Democrat was convicted on multiple counts of fraud and racketeering

Former Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah is in his third year of a 10-year prison sentence for racketeering, bribery, and fraud. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal prosecutors will not retry former Rep. Chaka Fattah on four public corruption charges including bribery and money laundering after an appeals court last year tossed out previous jury convictions.

The appeals court judge ruled that the district court judge in the trial in which Fattah was convicted did not give the jury adequate instructions on what constitutes “official acts.” The appeals court judge ordered a retrial.

Federal prosecutors in the case have decided not to pursue another trial against Fattah because he is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after being found guilty on multiple counts of racketeering, bribery, conspiracy and fraud.

Fattah, A Philadelphia Democrat who represented Pennsylvania’s old 2nd District from 1995 to 2016, is not likely to receive a reduced sentence at his resentencing in July.

“The government believes that, under these circumstances, where defendant Fattah is already serving multiple concurrent 10-year prison terms ... it is in the interests of justice to dismiss [the bribery and money laundering counts] of the indictment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gibson wrote in a court motion filed Wednesday in Philadelphia, multiple local area news outlets reported.

Fattah, now 62, was charged in 2015 in a 29-count indictment for racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of a probe launched by the IRS and FBI in March 2013.

The case centered around a $1 million campaign loan to a 2007 mayoral bid that prosecutors said was paid back illegally. A jury found that he had used federal grants and nonprofit cash to pay back the loan.

Fattah began his 10-year prison term in January 2017 and is currently being held in a medium-security prison in western Pennsylvania near the New York state line.

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