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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Third Circuit Denies Former Lackawanna County Commissioner Anthony J. Munchak’s Appeal

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied former Lackawanna County Commissioner Anthony J. Munchak’s latest appeal regarding his 2011 conviction on multiple public corruption charges.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals affirmed U.S District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo’s July 17, 2014, denial of Munchak’s motion for a new trial based on a claim of newly discovered evidence.

Munchak was convicted in 2011, along with former Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert C. Cordaro, on multiple public corruption offenses relating to the Commissioners’ demands for payments and other benefits from individuals and entities doing business with Lackawanna County.  Munchak was sentenced in 2012, to serve 84 months’ imprisonment and the Third Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence on May 31, 2013.

After the conviction and sentence were affirmed, Munchak filed a motion for a new trial alleging that witnesses associated with Highland Associates, an architectural and engineering firm that did work for the County, perjured themselves at his trial.  The Appellate Court rejected Munchak’s claims and stated that “[t]he District Court correctly concluded that Munchak’s motion does not expose false testimony.”  The Appellate Court further stated that since Munchak’s “new evidence” did not discredit the witnesses’ testimony, “it is impossible to conclude that it creates a reasonable likelihood (or, indeed, any rational chance) of a different outcome by the jury.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.  At trial, the government was represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Lorna N. Graham, William S. Houser and Bruce Brandler, with Assistant United States Attorney Stephen R. Cerutti on the Appellate brief.

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Topic: 
Public Corruption
Updated April 26, 2016