Lobbyist Connected to Former Rep. Weldon Charged With Evidence Destruction

A Pennsylvania-based lobbyist was charged Tuesday with destroying evidence related to an FBI investigation into former Rep. Curt Weldon.

Prosecutors said in court filings that Cecilia Grimes threw documents in the trash after she received grand jury subpoenas for those documents. FBI agents found the documents in her garbage cans. Authorities said she also threw out her Blackberry at a fast-food restaurant to keep the FBI from retrieving her e-mail.

Weldon, a former Republican lawmaker who represented a suburban Philadelphia district for 20 years, is identified in the court papers only as "Representative A." The government's filing Tuesday is known as a criminal information and is typically part of a plea deal.

A message left with Grimes' attorney, Richard L. Scheff, was not immediately returned.

The FBI turned its focus to Grimes as part of its investigation into whether Weldon agreed to help Grimes by supporting appropriations requests from her lobbying firm, based in Media, Pa., according to court documents.

Weldon's defense attorney, William Winning, did not immediately return a telephone call.

Weeks before the November 2006 election, FBI agents raided the homes of Weldon's daughter Karen Weldon and her business partner, Charles P. Sexton Jr., as they investigated whether the congressman helped them win nearly $1 million in foreign lobbying contracts.

Weldon, who had been a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, lost the race to Democrat Joe Sestak.

Weldon's former chief of staff, Russell Caso Jr., of Rockville, Md., pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to commit honest-services fraud. Records show his sentencing has been deferred indefinitely while he cooperates with federal investigators.

Earlier this year, Weldon moved the last $80,000 in his campaign fund to a legal defense fund.