Here's my story on the main site about a judge dismissing all of Jane Orie's motions on her corruption case, and calling for retrial to begin as soon as Monday:
Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning today denied requests by state Sen. Jane Orie's attorney to dismiss her corruption case and recuse the judge from involvement in it, setting up jury selection to begin in a second trial starting next week.
Ms. Orie's defense attorney may appeal to the state Superior Court before that can happen.
In a 28-page opinion Judge Manning repeatedly lambasted the McCandless Republican's defense for entering forged documents as evidence in her corruption trial, which led him to declare a mistrial March 3. Her defense attorney William Costopolous filed several motions late last month saying the prosecution inappropriately pushed the judge into that decision.
The judge said today the forged documents -- which included apparently doctored signatures by the senator's former chief-of-staff -- were in sole possession of Ms. Orie's defense team until the next to last day of the trial. All responsibility for them falls to her, not District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala's office or the court, Judge Manning wrote.
"If any party had the opportunity to discover the 'blatant forgery' it was the defense, including the defendant herself. The fact that these documents were so obviously altered and, despite that, offered into evidence by the defense, evinces an inference that the defense knew that they were not genuine," he wrote.
Ms. Orie and her sister Janine were charged with using state resources to campaign for the senator and their sister, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin. Janine Orie has not filed any motions with the court since the mistrial.
Judge Manning also denied motions by Mr. Costopolous to replace the district attorney's office with the state attorney general's office in any investigation of the forgeries.
Even if the Orie team files an appeal with Superior Court, the judge said he will still proceed with the jury selection set for Monday until the higher court addresses their appeal request.