Terror Alert Level

Thursday, March 03, 2011

An Interesting Development

What could this be about?

Jury deliberations in state Sen. Jane Orie's corruption case were halted this morning when the judge presiding in the case said he suspects that two defense documents were altered.

I haven't had anything to say about the defense portion of this case, but in a nutshell, Orie is blaming her chief of staff, Jamie Pavlot.

UPDATE: Mistrial declared. And it looks like more bad news for the Orie sisters.

The order this afternoon by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning followed his earlier order to suspend deliberations after the prosecution accused the defense of having submitted altered documents among its exhibits.

Prosecutor Lawrence Claus displayed three documents that he said showed evidence that the signature of Jamie Pavlot was cut and pasted from one document to another. Ms. Pavlot was Ms. Orie's top aide in the North Hills office and a major witness for the prosecution.

Defense attorney William Costopoulos said "these were not doctored."

A clearly irate Judge Jeffrey Manning rejected the protest.

"Ray Charles could see that signature was doctored," he said, pointing to an image of one document projected on the wall. The three documents are 101A, 101B and 110. They are part of a package of 50 documents introduced into evidence.

Judge Manning ordered deliberations halted and the documents retrieved from the jury room. He ordered that a forensic document analyst be brought in to examine the papers.

You can view the documents here.

I would not be at all surprised to see additional charges brought.

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