Gavel Grab

Campaign Operative Testifies in Defense of Accused Judge

Michael Long, a key defense witness for a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice charged with corruption, testified at her trial that he had little contact with her Superior Court judicial staff when he ran her 2009 campaign for the high court.

“I don’t know those people. I didn’t know their names until I read them in the paper. It never happened. I don’t know what else I can say,” testified Long in defense of suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article.

The judge is on trial for alleged misuse of state paid staff to run her 2003 and 2009 election bids to the state’s highest court.

Long was confronted by a prosecutor with emails the prosecutor said came from Janine Orie, the judge’s sister and secretary at the time, about political activity. Long testified, “I wasn’t directed by Janine to do anything, ever. Keep this in focus, because sometimes I think we lose focus. This was 365-day campaign. Two emails is not a lot.”

The defense recently began presenting its case. To learn more about the trial, see Gavel Grab.

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