State Senator charged with ward election plot

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP)- A lawyer for a Pennsylvania state senator accused of bribing a Philadelphia Democratic Party ward committeewoman says his client is "100 percent innocent."

Federal prosecutors charged Democratic Sen. Larry Farnese of Philadelphia on Tuesday with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and violations of the Travel Act.

Farnese allegedly secured support from the committeewoman for his successful candidacy in Philadelphia's eighth ward leadership election by paying $6,000 toward her daughter's college study abroad.

The ward committeewoman also was charged. Prosecutors accused the pair of a "bribery and fraud scheme" in the 2011 ward election.

Farnese's lawyer Mark Sheppard says the committeewoman didn't participate in the election and that no other committee person has claimed to have been offered anything of value by Farnese.

Sheppard says Farnese performed "a regular and appropriate part of being a community and political leader that the government would now like to be declared illegal."

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