A federal jury in Philadelphia found Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr. guilty on all 23 charges he faced. The charges include racketeering, money laundering and fraud.
Reports said the charges were first brought up when the Justice Department argued that the 59-year-old Democrat used federal grants and nonprofit funds to repay an illegal loan of $1 million used for Fattah’s unsuccessful bid to become Philadelphia’s mayor in 2007. With Fattah, four other co-defendants were also found guilty.
“Chaka Fattah Sr. and his co-defendants betrayed the public trust and undermined our faith in government,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, whose office prosecuted the case, told CNNPolitics, “Today's verdict makes clear that the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania expect their public officials to act with honesty and integrity, and to not sell their office for personal gain. Hopefully, our elected officials in Philadelphia and elsewhere hear today's message loud and clear.”
Three of the four co-defendants were also convicted of racketeering conspiracy. The fourth was found guilty of bank fraud and other charges, reports said. Fattah’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4 and he is currently out on bail.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult day for me and my family,” the West Philadelphia representative said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “A jury has decided that based on the evidence presented to them that I am guilty of charges presented by the government. Today's decision notwithstanding, it has been my privilege to serve the constituents of the Second Congressional District for over 20 years.”
He added that he was “proud” of his work on education and home foreclosures.
Fattah was elected to Congress in 1994. He was defeated in April’s Democratic primary election ahead of his trial. He also served on the appropriations committee overseeing the Justice Department’s budget. Fattah left the panel after his indictment last year but he has remained a member of Congress.
Losing the April primary election denied him the possibility of a 12th term. He did not comment on whether he would resign from his House seat before his current term ends on Jan. 2, 2017.