The judge overseeing an upcoming political corruption case offered Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah some harsh advice Tuesday: get “your priorities” straight.
Fattah faces a racketeering indictment and his attorneys want to be removed from representing him, claiming the Philadelphia Democrat failed to pay them over the last five months.
U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III informed Fattah he is not taking his trial seriously enough and is too focused on raising money for his re-election bid.
“I think you need to take this matter seriously and think hard and fast about your priorities,” the judge told Fattah after the congressman said he would pay his lawyers after raising funds for his campaign.
“I’m not suggesting that I’m not taking this matter seriously,” he said. “But one thing has to come after another, and you have to make rational decisions. We don’t think much of the allegations, but this is an important matter,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, noting earlier that he has every intention to pay his legal bills.
Fattah is accused of accepting bribes and misusing campaign money, charitable contributions and grant funds as a way to pay his family members and political allies.