Criminal Justice

Ed Pawlowski, mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania./Twitter.

The mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was convicted along with a lawyer on Thursday in a scheme to solicit campaign donations from law firms and vendors in exchange for city contracts.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski, a Democrat, was convicted on 47 of 54 charges, including conspiracy, bribery, attempted extortion, mail and wire fraud, and lying to the FBI. The Allentown Morning Call, the Associated Press, Lehigh Valley Live and WFMZ have stories on the federal verdict.

Pawlowski had been accused of seeking donations for his gubernatorial and Senate campaigns in exchange for giving city contracts to law firms and companies doing engineering, technology and construction work. Pawlowski had maintained there was no direct evidence that he gave work to companies in exchange for contributions, and the witnesses against him weren’t credible.

Lawyer Scott Allinson was convicted of bribery and conspiracy based on allegations he tried to funnel donations to the mayor in exchange for legal work for the law firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus.

The trial had featured secret recordings made by Pawlowski’s campaign manager and another campaign worker, according to the Morning Call. The trial “had memorable and even bizarre moments—including a debate over whether the term ‘meatballs’ was code for a bribe or referred to actual meatballs,” the article reports.

Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus issued a statement saying Allinson is no longer with the firm. Allinson “acted alone in this matter,” the firm said. “Our firm has not engaged in any illegal, improper, or unethical conduct.”

Pawlowski was acquitted of soliciting a bribe from a tax attorney whose firm collected delinquent taxes for the city. He was also acquitted of soliciting a bribe from a Dilworth Paxson partner.

Typo in penultimate paragraph corrected at 2:20 p.m.