U. S. Congressman Chaka Fattah was standing tall Thursday. Despite a federal indictment, he told supporters he's going to be around in office in the years to come.
The Philadelphia Democrat made that statement just a day after being hit with a 29-count corruption indictment.
And Fattah appears to be going on the attack, opening a broadside on the local United States attorney and doing it with a smile, FOX 29 Investigate's Jeff Cole reports. But this case is in its infancy, and there will certainly be very rough days ahead for this veteran of congress.
"Please join me in welcoming to the stage our 2015 Advocate of the Year … given to Chaka Fattah," an announcer read to cheers Thursday afternoon at an event inside a Washington, D.C., hotel.
Fattah was being celebrated by a business organization, the U.S. Black Chambers Inc.
The 11-term congressman stood defiant: "I don't want anyone who's thinking about this to spend any time thinking that I'm not going to be here doing this work. I'm gonna be here."
The longtime House member is accused of – among other charges – taking an illegal $1-million campaign loan and using federal dollars and money from a charity to pay it off.
"The conduct that Congressman Fattah engaged in undermines public faith in government, undermines confidence in government," U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane Memeger said during a news conference Wednesday.
Fattah, who claims he's done nothing wrong, attacked Memeger for what he thinks is a very weak case.
"So, we are not going to substitute the views of the voters for an enthusiastic, determined prosecutor who somehow thinks that maybe I shouldn't be doing what I am doing," Fattah said.
Back in Philly, the gate was closed at Fattah's city home.
At city hall, the Mayor Michael Nutter was signing a bill forcing disclosure by independent groups funneling cash to city candidates.
Nutter would not comment of whether Fattah should remain in office while he fights the corruption charges but said, while most politicians follow the law, allegations like these damage them all.
"It is never good for any of us in elective office. It's never good for the city. It's never good for our citizens," Nutter said.
Fattah's wife, NBC 10 anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah is not charged but has been linked to the case in an alleged bogus deal to sell her Porsche.
Fattah stepped down from his leadership position on the board of the Congressional Black Conference on Thursday while the group's chair called the charges "very serious."