Appeals court throws out some of Fattah's convictions, orders new trial

Third Circuit Court hands ex-congressman a victory — and a defeat

Pat Loeb
August 09, 2018 - 4:59 pm
Chaka Fattah

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A federal appeals court has ordered a new trial for ex-Rep. Chaka Fattah and co-defendant Herb Vederman on five of the bribery counts for which they were convicted in 2016. 

But the order also reinstated guilty verdicts on two charges that had been dismissed on an earlier appeal. 

Fattah and four others were convicted on a total of 23 counts. Four of the defendants appealed. For two of them, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals simply denied their appeals. 

Fattah and Vederman were convicted of bribery because Vederman did Fattah some financial favors, and Fattah reciprocated by setting up a meeting for him with the U.S. Trade Representative, recommending him for an ambassador's post, and hiring his girlfriend for a part-time position. 

One week after the jury found the two men guilty on those counts, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that honed the meaning of "official act." The Third Circuit found Thursday that setting up a meeting would no longer be included in that definition, and so the two men are entitled to a new trial.

But the Third Circuit also reinstated two guilty verdicts of lying to a financial institution that the two had managed to get overturned in an earlier appeal, which was sent back to the district court for resentencing — meaning they could get longer prison terms.

Fattah is currently in the second year of a 10-year sentence. His lawyer said he won't have a comment. 

Vederman was sentenced to two years but was allowed to await the appeal outcome before serving.