Supreme Court justice Joan Orie Melvin of Pennsylvania and her sister and aide Janine Orie have been convicted on corruption charges. They might be joining their youngest sister, former senator Jane Orie in jail.The two sisters have been found guilty of using state employees, working for the court and the Senate, in Melvin's Supreme Court campaigns.
According to WTAE, they were charged with theft of services, criminal conspiracy, and one count of misappropriation of state property each.
58-year-old court aide Janine Orie allegedly tried to interfere with the investigation, asking a staffer to delete files that would have constituted evidence against her, in 2009.
The prosecution showed the court proof in the form of written orders sent to staff members, by email.
“All the evidence pointed to Janine Orie. There was a lot more emails of Janine Orie directing people what to do,” Jury foreman Matt Mabon describes.
Melvin was also implicated in conspiracy charges, asking senator Jane Orie's former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot to delete information of a political nature found in her home. The request was formulated during a three-way call, when her sister Jane was on the line.
“I didn't like it, I'll tell you that.
“She's been on trial for a month, she's had this hanging over her head for, what, three-and-a-quarter years? She's devastated,” said James DePasquale, defending Janine Orie upon receiving the verdict.
“[The] verdict represents a sad chapter in the history of Pennsylvania's justice system,” states Pennsylvania Bar Association president Thomas Wilkinson.
“[It] has made it absolutely clear that no one is above the law irrespective of title or status,” adds Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.
51-year-old former senator Jane Orie is currently serving 2 and a half to 10 years in prison for similar charges. She has been convicted of using her staff in her own campaign, while being cleared of charges of having staffers work for Melvin's.