WILKES-BARRE — A former state senator from Luzerne County was in court Monday trying to convince a judge that the pressure of a criminal trial could kill him.
Senator Ray Musto’s ill health is in question, but should it be enough to cancel his trial?
A judge heard hours of testimony about Ray Musto’s worsening liver disease, an aneurysm that could rupture, and his lack of focus.
Late Monday afternoon, the judge said it will only take him one night to decide if Musto should face trial or if he’s simply too sick.
Ray Musto, 84, was guided down the stairs of the Wilkes-Barre federal courthouse with the help of his family after a long day in court.
At times during the competency hearing, the former state senator nodded off as four medical experts and Musto’s own son testified about the former lawmaker’s declining health.
Musto was charged in 2010, accused of taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks while in office.
In court, psychiatrists and specialists testified that Musto’s cirrhosis of the liver has worsened and toxins reaching the brain are clouding his judgment. One doctor said Musto has been confused, exhausted and unfocused. Another specialist testified saying Musto said during a recent exam he feared that he would die from the stress preparing for a trial.
Musto’s son said the lawmaker slept through most of Christmas Day. He has fallen several times at home but he refused to go to the hospital because he wanted to be here.
Federal prosecutors offered little argument about Musto’s mental health and if he could withstand a trial.
The judge is expected to make a ruling Tuesday.
Musto’s trial is currently scheduled to start next week.