Lehigh Valley

Pawlowski's 54 charges are serious, former US attorney says

ALLENTOWN, P.a. - The indictment against Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is dozens of pages long.

Seth Weber, a  former U.S. attorney told 69 News the 54 charges are serious. For example, each bribery count carries a maximum of 20 years behind bars, and there are more than 30 of those. If Ed Pawlowski is convicted of all counts, the maximum sentence is 775 years in a federal prison.

Weber said the FBI doesn't usually come knocking unless its agents have a really strong case.

"You have nine people that have pled guilty and implicated Mayor Pawlowski. It's a pretty strong case," said Seth Weber.

The former U.S. attorney used to write FBI indictments similar to the one charging Pawlowski with 54 counts in an alleged pay-to-play scheme.

Weber said about 80 percent of defendants in similar cases pleaded guilty. For those that do go to trial, more than 60 percent are convicted.

"What is most damming for the mayor is this is not a one-time incident; Charges of criminal conduct from 2012-2015. That is a long time," Weber said.

Pawlowski has maintained his innocence, putting the blame on political consultant Mike Fleck, who sources said wore a wire to tape conversations.

"Take Mike Fleck out of it. There are still eight other people that have pled guilty and pointed the finger at Pawlowski, " Weber added.

During a news conference Wednesday, Pawlowski's attorney, Jack McMahon, said they welcome tapes and hope there are tapes between Mr. Fleck and the mayor.

Weber said who's heard most on the tapes will determine their impact and said, at this point, McMahon doesn;t know what is on the tapes. That will come out during the discovery process, and won't be privy to the public.

Weber said the case will be built on the credibility of those who have implicated the mayor.

"If the witnesses say, 'I never talked to the mayor. I talked to Mike Fleck and he told the mayor said this,' then there is no direct line between the witness and the mayor," Weber said.

The trial could begin as soon as 70 days, which would bring us to the middle of October, just weeks before the election, but Weber thinks a trial would happen after the November election.

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