- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Federal jurors were set to begin deliberating fraud charges against Philadelphia state Sen. Larry Farnese.

Philly.com (http://bit.ly/2kQ9v3D ) says Tuesday’s deliberations follow closing arguments Monday in which both sides offered starkly different accounts.

Prosecutors contend Farnese used $6,000 in campaign money to bribe a Democratic ward committeewoman to help him become Philadelphia’s eighth ward leader. He’s charged with mail and wire fraud and other counts.

Farnese’s lawyers say the payment, which the committeewoman used for her daughter’s college study abroad program, was a “good deed” for a deserving constituent. The defense argues that “Criminals don’t pay bribes with checks,” file public records or keep allegedly incriminating emails about illegal agreements like Farnese did.

Farnese took office in 2009, succeeding two senators imprisoned for corruption.

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