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Pennsylvania Democrat who has been in Congress 21 years is convicted of racketeering

by The Associated Press | June 21, 2016 at 11:41 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA — A veteran Pennsylvania congressman was convicted Tuesday in a racketeering case that largely centered on various efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was found guilty of all counts against him, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering. His lawyers argued that the schemes were engineered without Fattah's knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case.

The 59-year-old Democrat had been in Congress since 1995 and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. But he lost the April primary and his bid for another term.

Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money and nonprofit funds through his consultants to pay back the illegal loan.

Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Kravis said in his closing argument that Fattah also used federal grants and nonprofit funds to enrich his family and friends.

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