Two former Pennsylvania judges implicated in a “kids-for-cash” scandal on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges.
Former Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan are accused of taking millions of dollars in payments related to the construction of two juvenile detention facilities.
They had agreed to plead guilty in February to honest services fraud and tax evasion in a deal with prosecutors that called for 87-month prison sentences, far below federal guidelines.
But a federal judge rejected the deal last month, saying Conahan, 57, and Ciavarella, 59, hadn’t fully accepted responsibility for the crimes. They switched their pleas to not guilty, and prosecutors secured a 48-count indictment that includes racketeering, bribery and extortion charges.
At their arraignment Tuesday, prosecutors also asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt to tighten bail conditions for both former judges, claiming they had tried to protect assets and are now more likely to flee.
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Former PA Judges Implicated in "Kids for Cash" Plead Not Guilty to 48 Counts
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Judges Plead Guilty
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