Musto Too Ill for Trial?

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WEST PITTSTON -- Former State Senator Ray Musto of the Pittston area is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on new charges of corruption.

However, it may all be a moot point if a federal judge sides with his attorneys, who believe Musto, 83, has too many health issues to go to trial on anything.

On Monday, Musto's lawyers filed a new motion, asking a federal judge to either dismiss the corruption charges against him or to delay his trial indefinitely. His lawyers believe adding the stress of a trial to his serious health issues could kill him.

Former State Senator Ray Musto was first indicted on federal corruption charges in 2010. His attorneys said since then, Musto's health has taken a serious turn for the worse. His attorneys are now asking a judge to either dismiss the charges against Musto or delay his trial indefinitely.

According to court papers, Musto suffers from liver disease and an aneurysm. His lawyers argue he's too sick to defend himself.

Court papers say, "His daily activity is at a minimal level. That he suffers from extreme fatigue for two to three days a week, during which he is bedridden."

Newswatch 16 sat down in West Pittston with Michael Cefalo, an attorney who is not involved with the case but who has read the court papers.

"The sad part is because he's so sick, if you have a trial, he may not be able to attend or he may not be able to look at the jury. He may not be able to convey his message," said Cefalo.

Doctors told Musto's lawyers he's at a risk of developing serious health consequences, including death if he faces the stress of trial preparation and the trial itself.

Cefalo says Musto's case could go to trial without Musto there, but it would do nothing for his case.

"A trial in absentia, you know the chances of winning are not as good as if you come there and you testify, especially in a bribing trial," said Cefalo.

Cefalo doesn't believe the federal judge will dismiss the charges against Musto, but he thinks he will probably delay the trial. Musto is still due to appear in court Wednesday morning, but the clerk told us that could change at the last minute.