Criminal record cleared for James Robert Matthews
Former Montgomery County commissioner was accused of giving false statements
A criminal charge against former Montgomery County Commissioner James Robert Matthews has been expunged.
"The slate is wiped clean," said Atty. Judson Aaron, Matthew's Philadelphia lawyer.
In December 2011, said Aaron, Matthews was charged with one misdemeanor count of "false swearing," making a false statement to government officials in connection with an investigation.
Aaron declined to elaborate, except to say Matthews never pleaded guilty to the charge.
Matthews, a Republican, was chairman of the county commissioners and had served three terms when he decided not to run again in 2011.
The issue involved Matthews' relationship with Certified Abstract, a company that did business with the county. Matthews' mortgage company did business with Certified Abstract and its owners. A grand jury determined that isn't illegal, but lying about it under oath is.
In December 2011 Matthews was led into court in handcuffs, accused of lying to that grand jury. He was arrested after an 18-month investigation led by the District Attorney's office. The grand jury was offended by the volume of lies Matthews allegedly told them, District Attorney Risa Vetri-Ferman said at the time.
Matthews denied the allegations.
In July 2012, the district attorney said Matthews admitted that he lied during that investigation. He said Matthews would be put on probation, and was ordered to pay more than $10,000 in fines.
To clear his record, Matthews did "a certain number of hours" of community service in an ARD -- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition -- program. Such programs are offered for those accused of less serious charges, especially first-time offenders.
The order dismissing criminal charges against Matthews and expunging his arrest record was signed Friday by Montgomery County Judge S. Gerald Corso.
Matthews is the brother of MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews.
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