03.30.2011

Cordaro and Munchak back in court

March 31, 2011

By Ryan Coyle

Current Lackawanna County commissioner A.J. Munchak and former Commission Robert Cordaro were back in federal court again Thursday. Both pleaded not guilty again, but this time around Cordaro faces even more corruption charges.

Munchak and Cordaro were back in Federal Court because earlier this week prosecutors revised the indictments against them.

Former Commissioner Cordaro now faces two additional money laundering charges, which means another possible 40 years in prison. His potential sentence if convicted now stands at 499 years.

“It seems like everything is done for the maximum publicity purposes here. And all when I thought my government should be concerned about the truth,” explained Cordaro.

Current Commissioner A.J. Munchak faces a possible 343 years in prison, if convicted. This is the second time the indictments against the pair have been changed. Both again pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors said the men used their positions as County Commissioners to extort hundreds of thousands from companies that did business with the County.

Cordaro, for one, wants to know more details about the crimes he faces.

“I think we’re entitled to them. We’re entitled to know when the things happened. We’re entitled to know who said what. And that’s how we’re going to defend ourselves in June,” Cordaro added.

Both Cordaro and Munchak showed continued confidence that they will be found not guilty when their trial comes.

“I wish the trial was tomorrow,” said Munchak. “I’m innocent and I’m confident that my name will be cleared.”

“We are also very comfortable, despite the trend around here, that we’re going to get a fair jury. And if we get a fair jury we’ll be fine,” added Cordaro.

That trial date is set for June 6th at the Federal Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre. The pair faces dozens of counts of federal crimes.

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