FBI Probe

Mayor Ed Pawlowski takes stand in jovial mood, says 'not guilty'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski tells his side of the story in his corruption trial.  The mayor took the stand Wednesday to say he's not guilty of the dozens of charges he's facing.

69 News Reporter Bo Koltnow spoke to the mayor briefly Wednesday morning, he was in a good mood even joked around. It's a mood he took into the courtroom when he joked to the jury he didn't know Barack Obama when the two were both community organizers in Chicago.

However, he turned serious quickly.

A supporter gave Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski a hug while he left the courtroom this afternoon.

Pawlowski is hoping for similar support from the jury.

His defense attorney Jack McMahon started the day by questioning the four-term mayor on how city contracts are awarded.

Prosecutors allege Pawlowski traded favors and city contracts for campaign contributions during his various campaigns.

Pawlowski testified unless it's a huge contract he rarely sees them until they come across his desk and doesn't know who's involved.

A 2014 contract awarded to Northeast Revenue was the focus of the morning.

Pawlowski testified he never discussed preferences for the company.

However, this contradicts what former City Finance Director Gary Strathearn testified to earlier in the trial.

Pawlowski also testified about a June 2015 meeting in which developer Ramzi Haddad said he was promised zoning changes and a city contract by Sam Ruchlewicz in a text.

Ruchlewicz was an employee of Pawlowski's Campaign Manager Mike Fleck, who was hired by Haddad, a fact Pawlowski said he only just discovered.

Fleck has been cooperating with the FBI.

On the stand Pawlowski said he told Haddad what Ruchlewicz texted wasn't true and said "this is the type of stuff people go to jail for. Perception is reality and I don't want it."

Pawlowski said Ruchlewicz was lying to everyone he could and could land them all in jail.

 Pawlowski also testified Fleck was wearing a wire for the FBI for at least four months while Pawlowski was paying him $10,000 a month to run his U.S. Senate Campaign.

He also said he wasn't comfortable with Flecks expanding business of business development and political consulting. Pawlowski said he wanted Fleck to split them apart and threatened to leave.

However, in a 2014 newspaper story Pawlowski said Fleck was above board and gave his support to the businesses. 

Pawlowski is set to take the stand again Thursday. 

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