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Feds dispute ex-PA Cyber chief's claims of illegal attorney-client recordings

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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 6:27 p.m.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Pittsburgh asked a federal judge not to throw out charges against Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nicholas Trombetta because of claims he made that prosecutors illegally recorded conversations he had with his attorneys, according to a partially redacted filing made public Wednesday.

Trombetta, of East Liverpool, Ohio, faces 11 counts of mail fraud, bribery, tax conspiracy and filing false tax returns. He resigned from the Midland, Beaver County-based PA Cyber, the state's largest cyber charter school, in June 2012.

Prosecutors accused him of funneling at least $1 million in tax dollars meant for the online school to himself and his family. Trombetta said federal investigators used illegally recorded conversations with attorneys to make their case.

“Trombetta's scattershot claims of unwarranted recordings involve implied joint attorney-client relationships which seem to have existed, if at all, only in Trombetta's subjective understanding, and are no basis to accuse the government of serious and deliberate misconduct,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to keep their response, filed on Monday, confidential. The version released on Wednesday redacts conversations and other details about the case.

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