Documents prosecutors wanted kept secret in former State Senator Bob Mellow’s corruption case will be made public.
Also, Mellow’s arraignment on the charges against him will now be in Scranton, not Philadelphia.
In March, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office made the big announcement that corruption charges had been filed against former State Senator Bob Mellow and that Mellow would eventually plead guilty to those charges.
Then, federal judges in Scranton excused themselves from the case, and the former senator was scheduled to be arraigned in Philadelphia.
Court documents made public this week show there was a dispute over whether or not that arrangement was fair.
Attorneys for Mellow argued for the arraignment to stay in Philadelphia citing procedure.
“Since the arraignment will take place, as scheduled, in open court in Philadelphia, the public will certainly have access to the proceeding. There is no public interest that compels a change in established procedure,” attorney Daniel Brier wrote in a letter to the judge.
U.S. Attorney Peter Smith disagreed. “This case is a matter of great public interest to the citizens of northeastern Pennsylvania. It has attracted a great deal of public attention. The defendant is a very prominent former elected public official,” Smith wrote to the federal judge.
Based on the letters, the judge ordered Senator Mellow’s case back to Scranton.
Smith asked the court to keep the letters secret but was denied. He declined to comment to Newswatch 16 but said he was happy about the judge’s decision to move the arraignment to Scranton.
Bob Mellow will now make his first court appearance in the legislative district where the alleged crimes took place.
Many of the senator’s former constituents Newswatch 16 spoke to said Mellow should be arraigned in northeastern Pennyslvania.
“I mean, I think they should bring him back, the crime was committed here and he should have to answer to it here. I think they are kind of letting him off easy by doing it in Philadelphia,” said Daniel Lanton of Clarks Summit.
“It did happen here, it didn’t happen in Philadelphia, so to show the people that something is being done. That this is not being swept under the carpet, because a lot of the time they get away with it. I think it’s a good thing that they’re bringing him here so people will know that justice is being served,” said Matt O’Malley of Scranton.
Mellow’s arraignment is scheduled for April 27 at 10 a.m. at the federal courthouse in downtown Scranton.