Former staffer tells of work to boost Jane Orie's sister's bid for court
A former staffer for state Sen. Jane Orie said on Tuesday that he kept track of dozens of campaign donations during Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's election bid for the high court.
Josh Dott, 24, who worked for Orie as a state-paid legislative staffer, testified on the 11th day of the corruption retrial for his former boss that others directed him to keep track of Melvin's 2009 campaign donations in a database while he was on state time. Dott said he took orders from the senator, her former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot and the senator's sister, Janine Orie, who worked as an aide to Melvin.
Dott said he organized a fundraiser and put out yard signs for Melvin at the direction of Janine Orie.
"Why would you take directives from her?" Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus asked.
"The atmosphere in the office was, if Janine tells you to do something, it's just like the senator telling you to do something," said Dott, who estimated he spent up to 30 percent of his workday doing political work.
Jane Orie, 50, a McCandless Republican, is charged with directing her state-paid staff to do campaign work for her and Melvin, 55, of Marshall, who is not charged but is under investigation. Janine Orie, 57, is charged with ordering both the senator's and the justice's staffers to do political work on state time. Her trial has not yet been scheduled.
Orie, who has maintained her innocence, scribbled notes to her attorney, William Costopoulos, during Dott's testimony.
The senator is charged with 26 counts from two cases. Her first trial ended in a mistrial last March after Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning found that Orie's defense introduced forged documents as evidence. Prosecutors added charges of forgery against Orie.
Prosecutors yesterday began reading Orie's testimony from her first trial to the jury. The move is part of an attempt to prove that Orie committed perjury when she testified in her defense last March. Costopoulos has not said whether Orie will again take the stand to testify.
The prosecution is expected to finish its part of the case by the end of the week.
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.
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Four helicopters respond to Route 51 crash in Rostraver
- Miami (Fla.) gets prepared to take on ‘physical’ Pitt team
- Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
- Penguins 4th line is showing promise
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- Century Inn owner hopes to reopen Washington County landmark, gutted by fire, by end of next year
- Carrick crime ‘blitz’ shows early signs of success
- Small stores take big gamble by not upgrading credit card readers
- Mon City man arrested for alleged assault