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Orie seeks to shield pension, campaign cash

| Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 8:22 p.m.

Allegheny County prosecutors should not be allowed to touch the pension contributions or campaign account of former state Sen. Jane Orie in their bid to collect restitution from her theft convictions, her attorney said Wednesday.

William Costopoulos filed a six-page motion in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court and attached more than 80 pages of exhibits detailing Orie's rejection of cost-of-living increases for herself as well as her vote against the 2006 controversial pay raise for lawmakers.

Costopoulos also wrote that her theft convictions "are in the $25,000 range" with a guideline sentence that ranges from probation to nine to 18 months in jail. That's a sharp contrast to prosecutors' requests for restitution that could total more than $2 million and a jail sentence that could range from probation up to 94 months, or almost eight years, in the standard range.

Costopoulos argued that the bulk of the prosecution's $2 million restitution request was money spent by the Senate Republican Caucus for its own representation and that Orie should not be liable for that.

Orie, 50, of McCandless, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday on her 14 convictions, including five felonies, for using her staff to do campaign work on state time and using forged documents as evidence in her first trial, which ended in a mistrial.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that Orie's state pension fund contributions total about $90,000, and that her campaign fund contains more than $100,000.

A spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. declined to comment.

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