July 8, 2010; Source: Associated Press | For prosecutors who won a conviction against a former Pennsylvania state senator found guilty of defrauding a museum, a nonprofit, and the senate of millions of dollars, justice has not yet been served. Earlier this week prosecutors took, what the Associated Press described, as the “rare step” of appealing the four and a half-year sentence Vincent Fumo received for his crimes.
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They had asked the court to sentence the former legislator to at least 15 years, following his conviction last year on 137 fraud and obstruction counts. In their brief appealing the sentence, prosecutors wrote that Fumo “used his control of a well-funded Senate committee and of a nonprofit organization he created and supported (Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods), as well as his influence over another nonprofit institution, to support a lavish lifestyle and illegally amass political power.”
Based on his fraud, which prosecutors say topped $4 million, under federal sentencing guidelines, the judge could have put Fumo away for up to 27 years. Senior U.S. Judge Ronald Buckwalter previously defended his decision, saying it was “fair and not punitive,” adding, “I knew it would be a tremendous firestorm of reaction against what I did.” No argument there.— Bruce Trachtenberg