Gavel Grab

Former Melvin Staffer Ordered to Destroy Political Documents

When prosecutors began investigating former Pennsylvania Sen. Jane Orie, her sister instructed the secretary for now-suspended Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin to remove any political files from her office computer, according to testimony in a trial this week.

Janine Orie, who worked as Melvin’s office manager and secretary before going on trial for corruption charges, directed Katherine Squires to delete all campaign materials on her computer, according to testimony reported by the Tribune Live.

“I came in to work and Janine left me a note to delete all campaign files on my computer. I still had floppy disks as a backup, and I gave them to Janine,” Squires testified on the eighth day of Melvin’s corruption trial.

Cathy Skidmore, a former law clerk of Melvin’s, also testified but said she rarely saw any “politicking” in the office. However Skidmore said that she was asked to stand outside a polling location in Melvin’s 2003 election bid handing out flyers in support of the justice.

The justice was not present at that time, but Squires was and testified that she “was just told to go,” and felt like she had “no choice,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Skidmore also said that she assisted Orie with stuffing campaign envelopes for Melvin. A former intern for the ex-senator, Jennifer Rioja, testified that she quit the internship after being asked to assist with Melvin’s campaign.

To read more about Melvin’s ongoing trial, see Gavel Grab.

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