06.06.2011

As commissioners’ trial begins, defense optimistic

By Erin T. Nissley

Walking out of the federal courthouse Monday afternoon, former county  Commissioner Robert C. Cordaro said he was glad to finally have his day in  court.

He paused to speak to reporters assembled on the sidewalk shortly after one  of his defense attorneys, Jerry Johnson, told jurors during his opening  statement that the Dunmore native was not guilty of any of the 39 counts lodged  against him. His co-defendant, sitting county Commissioner A.J. Munchak, is  facing 25 counts.

“We have the chance to defend ourselves finally,” Mr. Cordaro said. “I don’t  know how they can prove us guilty. The facts don’t support it.”

Mr. Cordaro declined to talk about trial strategy, saying only that he and  his attorneys plan to “let the trial … unfold.”

About 30 minutes after Mr. Cordaro left, Mr. Munchak emerged from the  courthouse flanked by his attorneys. Mr. Munchak not only declined to answer  reporters’ questions, but declined to speak at all.

When asked how he thought the first day of trial went, Mr. Munchak only  shrugged. Defense attorney Christopher T. Powell said he thought the first day  went well.

“It’s the start of proving A.J. innocent,” the defense attorney said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/as-commissioners-trial-begins-defense-optimistic-1.1158178#ixzz1QbKo5QIj

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