Still, lawyers for Pawlowski, a former Democratic gubernatorial and U. Senate candidate who has led Pennsylvania’s third-largest city for more than a decade, are already sharpening their knives, and legal arguments, for trial.
“If taking Eagles game tickets is a bribe,” defense lawyer Jack Mc Mahon said, “then the bribers should be culpable, also.” Kilkenny, 44, a U. Army reservist and Democrat who is in his first term in a countywide elected post, contended in an interview last week that he did not believe at the time that he was being extorted by Pawlowski, as federal authorities have alleged.
They also poured ,000 more into Pawlowski’s campaign coffers in pursuit of a million tax-collection contract they ultimately won.
Meanwhile, two former Allentown officials — Finance Director Garret Strathearn and Dale Wiles, an assistant city solicitor — were working to rig the contract bidding process to ensure that Kilkenny and Northeast Revenue emerged the victors.
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His lawyer, Michael Schwartz, describes Kilkenny as a “victim” of Pawlowski’s misdeeds, one whose aid has helped prosecutors in a wide-ranging pay-to-play investigation that has already secured guilty pleas from nine government officials, businessmen, and political operatives across the Lehigh Valley.
State law does not prohibit those seeking government work from offering campaign contributions or gifts to elected officeholders with the power to award it.
But the incident has also placed a spotlight on another elected officeholder now poised to be a key witness should the case go to trial.