Fighting longer sentence, Fumo also seeks new trial
December 13, 2010By Susan Phillips
Convicted former state senator Vincent Fumo is fighting efforts by federal prosecutors to lengthen his sentence. And the once mighty powerbroker wants a new trial.
Fumo is now serving 4-and-a-half years for corruption at a federal prison in Kentucky.
But prosecutors think he deserves more time, and took the unusual step of appealing the sentence handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Buckwalter. Prosecutors called Buckwalter's decision "unduly lenient." Now Fumo is fighting back with a lengthy response.
Stephanos Bibas, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said the "too lenient" argument may be difficult to sell to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"If the court of appeals accepts it, which is not an easy thing for the prosecutors to prove to them," he said. "But if they do prove it, then Buckwalter has to give a higher sentence on remand if they say it's too low a sentence for crimes of this gravity."
Bibas said a decision on the matter may not be made for another year.
Fumo is also seeking a new trial. The court filing points to earlier claims of a tainted jury, which Buckwalter rejected at the time.
Fumo was convicted of defrauding the state Senate, a south Philadelphia nonprofit and a museum of millions of dollars.