The Latest: FBI agent displays checks in Rep. Fattah's trial

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Posted: May 16, 2016 4:13 PM
The Latest: FBI agent displays checks in Rep. Fattah's trial

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on the corruption trial of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (all times local):

4 p.m.

An FBI agent is showing jurors copies of the checks that moved between nonprofit groups and other entities linked to a Pennsylvania congressman on trial in a racketeering case.

Prosecutors on Monday sought to show that Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah (SHAW'-kah fa-TAH') obtained an illegal $1 million campaign loan and misused federal funds and charitable grants. They say he moved large sums of money through consulting firms or nonprofit groups he controlled so he could use them for campaign or personal expenses.

Four associates are on trial with Fattah. They include a woman who served as his campaign treasurer during the failed 2007 mayoral bid that left him with apparent money problems.

The co-defendants' lawyers say they took direction from Fattah.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

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1:30 p.m.

A lawyer for a Democratic congressman from Philadelphia on trial for corruption charges says the government's case rests on the word of two convicted felons.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's (SHAW'-kah fa-TAHS') lawyers on Monday put the blame on two political consultants who have pleaded guilty in the case.

The 59-year-old Fattah says he did nothing wrong in getting federal funds and charity grants for several nonprofit groups he set up.

But federal prosecutors say he used the money to enrich himself and his family and friends.

The defense also questioned Monday whether friends can really bribe other friends or whether checks from co-defendant Herbert Vederman to Fattah's family were nothing more than favors.

Fattah recently lost a primary race to retain the congressional seat he had held for two decades.

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11:15 a.m.

Federal prosecutors have told a jury that a U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania took an illegal $1 million loan to prop up an ailing mayoral bid and used $200,000 on Election Day alone.

Chaka Fattah (SHAW'-kah fa-TAH') Sr. nonetheless lost the 2007 race for Philadelphia mayor.

Prosecutors said in opening statements at his corruption trial Monday that he was soon under pressure to pay back the loan to former Sallie Mae chief executive officer Al Lord.

So they say he returned the $400,000 left over and steered charitable grants and federal funds to Lord to repay the other $600,000.

The campaign loan is just one of five alleged schemes that prosecutors outlined in opening statements.

Fattah insists the FBI has conducted a witch hunt into his two-decade career in Washington.