Memo Filed In Mellow Case

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SCRANTON -- In a sentencing memo filed in federal court this week, federal investigators said former state legislator Robert Mellow "placed his own political ambitions above the public trust."

Mellow pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The sentencing memo written by prosecutors included emails, letters, and memos which they said prove Mellow abused his power and defrauded taxpayers out of more than $79,000.

Mellow was a state legislator for 40 years and leader of the senate Democrats for more than two decades.

Prosecutors are asking a federal judge for a sentence of two years in prison when Mellow appears in court in Scranton this Friday.

In 2005, state representative Jeff Habay was convicted of an ethics violation for misusing his staff for fundraising and campaigning.

Seven other state legislators were investigated and prosecuted after that, including former senator Vincent Fumo, who was a senate leader along with Mellow and misused staff for his own political purposes.

Fumo was sentenced to 61 months in prison.

Despite watching fellow lawmakers fall to corruption charges, federal authorities said in their memo that Mellow continued using his staffers to raise money for his campaign and help Democrats regain control of the state senate.

In 2006, prosecutors said twenty senate staffers spent an entire day running a campaign school, costing about $4,500 in taxpayer money.

Mellow's attorneys submitted a memo asking the judge in this case to consider probation and no prison time.

Mellow is due in federal court at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Scranton.