Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
I'll admit to tuning out a bit on the legal woes of Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Fumo since he decided not to run for reelection -- I've been waiting, along with everyone else, for expected fresh indictments of current and former legislators in another corruption investigation -- but this doesn't sound good:
A longtime confidant of State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's pleaded guilty yesterday to tax evasion and, in a move that could get him a break at sentencing, agreed to testify as a prosecution witness during Fumo's corruption trial.
Howard J. Cain, 59, a political strategist and veteran of more than 80 campaigns, admitted that he had neither filed a federal tax return since 1991 nor paid any federal taxes on more than $1 million of income from 1997 through 2006.
Fumo, the Philadelphia Democrat who has been one of the most powerful lawmakers in Harrisburg for decades, is accused of defrauding the state Senate and two nonprofit organizations, and of attempting to obstruct the FBI and IRS investigation.
Trial of the corruption case, scheduled to start Sept. 8, is expected to last at least three months, with more than 100 prosecution witnesses.
Cain, a longtime member of Fumo's famously tight inner circle, has now emerged as a potentially key witness.
According to Cain's guilty-plea agreement, he admitted that he engaged in a conspiracy with Fumo and others to defraud the state Senate by submitting false invoices that resulted in payments to Cain for engaging in political campaign work in violation of state law.
(hat tip: Keystone Politics)
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