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Friday, February 11, 2011

Staffers Testify

Three former staffers testified that they worked on political campaigns for the Orie sisters while on the taxpayers dime.

Sharon Cochran, described how she had been asked to help arrange an appearance for then Judge Melvin before a United Steelworkers local during the 2003 race. She described the turnout of the event as sparse, which drew an irate response from the senator.

Mr. Davidek said that during the 2003 campaign, he had driven Justice Melvin all over the state for roughly 20 separate campaign appearances, and had been rewarded with compensatory time for the hours he spent on those trips. In all, he said, he spent approximately 30 percent of his time on political work. He also described being fired by Ms. Pavlot, who called him in one morning and informed his that she didn't think he respected the senator.

Earlier, the jury heard the cross-examination of Michele Lantz, who had testified previously that she spent work hours maintaining a campaign data base and arranging a fund-raising event in Butler County. Ms. Lantz said she left the office after Sen. Orie refused her request to allow her to have a regular quitting time in the office. She said, with a young child, she had requested the break from the sometimes erratic hours of her duties after her husband was called up for service in Iraq.

And the defense?

In cross-examining her, (Sharon Cochran) as with other witnesses, defense attorney William Costopoulos elicited testimony that while she did perform political work, the majority of her work hours were devoted to legislative business.

If that's the best the defense can muster, then someone is probably going to jail, as state law prevents ANY campaign work on the state's dime. I can imagine the exchange in a more "run of the mill" trial: "Well your honor, the defendant spent most of his time not committing crimes, he only stole from people 20 percent of the time."

Sounds like the senator is a real peach to work for.

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