Well, this is insane. Allegheny prosecutors filed a number of new charges against Janine Orie (“Janine”) yesterday. Prosecutors allege that staff for Janine’s sister, Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin (“Joan“), were ordered to falsify documents. [Complaint] [Grand Jury presentment]. Prosecutors also allege that campaign business for another sister, State Senator Jane Orie (“Jane“), was routinely carried out in Joan’s judicial chambers.
Janine was an aide for Joan while Joan, then a Superior Court judge, was campaigning for her present position on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Jane was campaigning for Republican State Senate. [Post Gazette] [Trib]
Prosecutors allege that the clerks were ordered to do legal research on behalf of the campaign, and that judicial staff used state resources for thanking donors and conducting other political business for the Justice’s sister. In a development that must be pretty chaotic around the Supreme Court, Joan’s staff all seems to have testified against her, from her secretary Kathy Squires to longtime judicial clerk Lisa Sasinoski. [PG Early Returns]
You will recall that Jane Orie faces charges that she falsified evidence in a potential corruption case, and this is set for trial in February. Recently, the plot thickened when the D.A. seized computers from Senator Orie’s office, and her attorney — apparently apropos of nothing — issued an affidavit that the allegedly falsified documents came directly from the client.