Senate caucus lawyers paid $1.2 million for Orie investigation
The bulk of the more than $1.2 million of public money that was paid out in relation to the investigation of state Sen. Jane Orie went to the law firm that represented the Senate caucus, figures released on Tuesday show.
Senate GOP spokesman Erik Arneson released cost figures showing that Philadelphia law firm Conrad O'Brien was paid $785,849. The firm represents the caucus and made numerous court filings related to Orie's defense.
Orie, 49, a McCandless Republican, is awaiting trial on charges she ordered her staff to perform political work on state time.
Other lawyers and firms who received taxpayer money include Obermayer Rebman Maxwell & Hippel LLP, $217,501; Thomas J. Farrell & Jay K. Reisinger, $131,794; DeForest Koscelnik Yokitis Kaplan & Berardinelli, $46,801; William F. Ward, $34,001; and Stephen Stallings, $12,720.
Arneson declined to say who the firms represented, citing attorney-client privilege.
None of the bills shows that Orie's previous attorney, Jerry McDevitt, or her current attorney, William Costopoulos, received money, according to Arneson's cost figures.
"Speaking generally, I can say that at least some of the payments included on the list were for costs incurred by the caucus on its own behalf," Arneson said.
Stalling represented the prosecution's star witness, former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot, during the first trial. He declined to comment.
David Berardinelli, of the firm DeForest Koscelnik Yokitis Kaplan & Berardinelli, said his firm represented at least five witnesses in the case. He declined to name them.
Ward, who is Gov. Tom Corbett's chief of staff, also has represented the caucus. He did not return a call for comment.
Matthew Haverstick, an attorney with Conrad O'Brien who represents the Senate caucus, declined to comment.
The other firms did not return calls for comment.
Prosecutors in April 2010 charged Orie and her sister, Janine Orie, 57, of McCandless. She worked as an aide to state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, another sister. Melvin is not charged.
A trial for the Ories ended in a mistrial in March when Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning found the senator's attorney introduced forged documents. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. charged Jane Orie in August with 16 new crimes, including perjury and forgery related to the documents.
Costopoulos yesterday filed requests seeking to postpone Orie's retrial, which is scheduled for Oct. 3, and to join the senator's two cases into one trial.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- Home sellers are able to remain mum about violent crimes committed there
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
- Armed doctor’s actions in Philly shooting reinvigorates debate on gun-carry
- Environmental groups win in open records case against Corbett
- Upper St. Clair family’s efforts pay off as governor signs Down syndrome education bill
- Wolf: Wealthy should pay more to cut school taxes
- Stronger laws in play in Mercer County starvation case