A Pennsylvania mayor has been convicted of 47 different charges that relate to abusing his public position. The federal conviction includes charges of bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and trying to extort campaign donations. Ed Pawlowski was the mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania. He used his position to try and get law firms to make donations to his campaigns. In exchange, he promised them legal business from the city. He also sought donations from tech, engineering and construction companies in exchange for promises of city tax dollars.
Becoming the mayor of Allentown wasn’t all that Pawlowski aspired to. Instead, he wanted to become the Governor of Pennsylvania or a Senator. He wanted to use his position of Allentown mayor in order to illegally get the money to fund his additional campaigns. Pawloski received acquittals for seven additional charges.
Pawlowski maintained his innocence of the charges throughout the trial. He said that prosecutors couldn’t prove that he gave those companies work because of contributions. He said that the case against him was weak and that the jury shouldn’t believe the witnesses.
In addition to the convictions for Pawlowski, an attorney was tried and convicted of related charges. The jury convicted Scott Allenson of conspiracy and bribery. They say that he tried to get money to the mayor in hopes of getting work for a law firm in exchange.
To secure the convictions, the prosecution team presented audio recordings. The recordings were made in secret. Pawlowski’s campaign manager and another person working for the campaign made the recordings. Authorities say that the recordings were telling and even bizarre at times. The parties involved talked about code words for bribes like the word meatballs.
The law firm that the attorney worked for tried to distance themselves from the lawyer’s actions. They said that he acted on his own to commit the offenses. They say that the law firm doesn’t do anything unethical.
One of Pawlowski’s acquittals was for allegations that he sought a bribe from an attorney. The attorney was allegedly a tax attorney who worked for the city to collect delinquent taxes. Another acquittal involved allegations that Pawlowski sought a bribe from another law firm’s partner.
The verdict forces Pawlowski out of his post as mayor. His ouster ends 12 years in office and ends his ambitions to become a governor or senator. He only began his latest term in January of 2018. In addition, he faces an upcoming sentencing hearing. The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.