New charges filed against Janine Orie
Justice Melvin's staff offers testimony
Saturday, December 17, 2011
By Timothy McNulty, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Leaning on new testimony from several current and former workers for state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, prosecutors filed a slew of new charges in the ongoing corruption probe against her sisters Janine, her former judicial aide, and state Sen. Jane Orie.
Detectives for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. filed five new charges against Janine Orie, one of them saying she directed a judicial staffer to destroy campaign computer files before they could be seized by investigators in late 2009.
A grand jury report also includes claims from court workers for Justice Melvin that they have been doing political work for her on state time over two decades in office. No charges were filed against the Supreme Court justice, and a spokesman for Mr. Zappala would not comment on whether any were forthcoming.
Dressed in a red jacket and black skirt, Janine Orie said just one sentence following her arraignment before Magisterial District Court Judge Nancy Longo: "My faith will get me through this."
Her brother, Jack Orie, used slightly stronger words to describe the new charges. "My family is quite disappointed in the amoral district attorney for filing charges with no merit against my sister Janine."
Janine Orie was released Friday night on her own recognizance and is due to appear in court again on Tuesday.
The 29-page grand jury presentment released Friday contains loads of new material claiming Janine Orie -- while an aide to then Superior Court Justice Melvin -- played a key role in working on her sister's successful 2009 Supreme Court run. Her sister Jane, a Republican state senator from McCandless, has been charged with doing similar work in her state office.
The presentment said Janine Orie worked on the 2009 campaign and another in 2003 in court offices; directed other court workers to campaign, sometimes under orders from her two sisters; and when investigators began looking into the work, directed another aide to copy and then destroy campaign-related files on the court computer network.
Read more: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/11351/1197578-54.stm#ixzz1go1sqq4m