8:06AM: It’s gonna be a packed house. I’m the first here, press or otherwise. It’s a good day, for singin’ a song, and it’s a good day, for moooooovin’ along!
8:09AM: Won’t be starting for a while, and I forgot somethin’ to read. It’s just me and two guys who’ve been coming to watch the trial every day.
8:50AM: Fumo, fiance and family just arrived. The women are bronzed, steely and dressed in black.
9:00AM: Jivin’ with Walt Hunter and Matt O’Donnell about our parishes. Which is as Philly as it gets. And makes me want to kill myself.
We’re speculating whether he’ll be jailed today vis-a-vis Fumo’s risk of flight.
9:23AM: Peter Nero is here, one can only assume, as a character witness.
9:25AM: Walt Hunter and Matt O’Donnell are hysterical. Topic for discussion: Conjugal visits. Apparently, you don’t get them. As Carolyn Zinni passes, we all agree: It’s a damn shame.
9:26AM: Frankie DiCicco in the house.
9:30AM: A number of City judges are here. The hallway outside the courtroom is mobbed with rubberneckers.
9:36AM: Prosecutors just rolled in, looking very much like the grim reapers of justice. Fumo is ghostly white.
9:47AM: Philadelphia TV Newsland: Where the men are strong, the women are very good looking, and their dental plans are above average. We’ve been placed in the jury box. Oh, the poetry.
9:53AM: Just looking at the Fumo women could break your heart. They have the palpable misery of the bewildered and devastated on their faces. The peanut gallery is packed.
9:55AM: It’s postponed to 11AM! Too many people are here and they need a bigger courtroom.
10:00AM: There’s a ceremonial courtroom that will accommodate the crowd.
10:05AM: I feel like Dominic Dunne. Younger, of course. More handsome, for certain. Vince Fumo is my OJ. Oy.
10:16AM: Fumo is clenching his jaw, causing his cheek muscles to flex grotesquely. The anxiety must be unbelievable.
10:17AM: Vince just said hello. Christ, I’m gonna faint.
10:23AM: The prosecutor just informed us that his only witness today will be the doctor in charge of federal prisons, to refute claims about Fumo’s health. Fumo will be presenting Zinni and his kids.
10:24AM: Prosecutor just told me he thinks Fumo’s getting three or four years. Quite a confession.
10:29AM: Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan is here. As I recall, this was the last major prosecution of his tenure.
10:34AM: Philebrity’s influence aside, lemme tell ya from personal experience: A confident wave and a clipboard will get you in any building in the country.
10:41AM: Judge Buckwalter will be arriving shortly.
10:50AM: Some call them the Democratic Machine, some call them Fumo sycophants: They’re all here.
10:50AM: All the players are on the phone, texting away, even the prosecutors, especially the press. The cacophony of the Fourth Estate — ’tis the sound of democracy.
10:51AM: The judge is here.
10:52AM: Fumo has a weird twitch. Tiny, almost Tourettic, jerks of the head.
11:02AM: Prosecution witness is on the stand. Testifying about the nature of care Fumo will receive and suitable prisons therefor.
11:28AM: Fumo won’t be able to take his Ambien, or Xanax.
11:39AM: He will be eating in a “chow line.”
11:42AM: This doctor is so full of shit. He just said that life has less stress in prison — no cell phones, demands, etc. — so Fumo’s stress will be less and therefore, not much of a concern. And he will have access to hous psychologists, so of course! It’s a cakewalk! Puhleeze.
12:30PM: Cross examination is wrapping up.
12:34PM: Break for lunch until 1:30.
1:36PM: We’re back.
1:38PM: The judge admonished prosecutors for making a petty argument in attempting to re-analyze the numbers in regards to loss to the state.
1:40PM: US also wants a higher sentence for damage to public confidence in goverment.
1:41PM: Judge said that’s a figment of the prosecutor’s imagination!
1:44PM: Judge says he only got five letters against Fumo.
1:45PM: The prosecutor said the judge should read Philly.com comments and the judge calls those things “crap.”
1:52PM: They also want a higher sentence because they say Fumo perjured himself on 27 occasions.
2:10PM: The judge and prosecutor are bickering!
2:18PM: The prosecutor attacks Mark Segal’s letter for ignoring Fumo’s conduct.
2:19PM: Judge says he’ll release the letters.
2:20PM: US says they should be taken with a grain of salt.
2:34PM: US says John Carter, who defrauded the Independence Seaport Museum, should be a point of sentencing comparison of 15 years.
2:36PM: Now comparing Corey Kem, who took waaaaay less than FUmo, and was given 10 years.
2:37PM: Now comparing Rick Mariano who got 78 months.
2:40PM: Comparing Beloff, Tayoun, and Cianfrani. And says Fumo is way worse.
2:42PM: Fumo’s team is up. Fumo deposited a million dollars today towards restitution.
2:50PM: Defense is pleading that Fumo’s extraordinary efficaciousness should translate to a lower sentence.
2:56PM: A Jesuit priest wrote in to say that Fumo was a person of the highest integrity!
2:57PM: Them wily Catholics, always playing fast and loose with fact and doctrine!
3:00PM: Dennis Cogan called Malcolm Lazan as a character witness, who is a former US Attorney.
3:07PM: Lazan is testifying about all of his good work.
3:10PM: Lazan’s gay and Fumo was always supportive of gay rights. Zinni is crying.
3:11PM: Lazan’s voice is cracking. Fantastic witness.
3:12PM: They aren’t friends, no.
3:13PM: Sen. Marge Tartaglione is up. She’s in a wheelchair. She says without Fumo, Philly’s out of millions.
3:16PM: Judge Gene Maier is up.
3:24PM: Without Fumo, St. Joe’s Hospital at 17th and Girard wouldn’t be there. Sonny Dicrecchio is up.
3:26PM: He’s the executive director of the produce center.
3:28PM: Fumo orchestrated an increase in food donations from 225k pounds in 2001 to 3 million pounds a year since 2003.
3:33PM: Zinni’s up.
3:35PM: She used to live in Guadalajara, Mexico and came back to Passyunk Ave. in the early ’80s.
3:37PM: Because her dad asked her to. And he just died. And he loved what Fumo did for Passyunk Ave.
3:39PM: We had a date two years ago and he didn’t hold back about the trial, which was unusual in the dating world because he’s real! The media and the prosecution stripped him of everything!
3:40PM: Her father said they did this to Jesus!
3:41PM: He’s not a monster, she says. Ally Fumo, the youngest daughter, is up. She’s 19 and a Penn student at Wharton.
3:43PM: She’s sobbing because she never had the relationship she wanted with him because he was always working. She’s forgiven him. Fumo’s crying.
3:44PM: “Your honor, don’t take my father for long. He’s done a lot of good.” She’s done.
3:45PM: Their supporters are crying.
3:46PM: Dennis Cogan is back up.
3:49PM: Justices Newman and Zappala wrote letters on his behalf.
3:55PM: Cogan says he’s waaay nicer than the media represents him. He passed out in Cogan’s office on two occasions.
3:56PM: He is a different man in private than in public.
3:57PM: He’s among the most vulnerable people Cogan’s ever known.
3:59PM: Cogan’s driver has a severely handicapped daughter, and Fumo got on the phone when his power had waned – and solved some problems for them.
4:00PM: Fumo walked home from Cogan’s office in the driving rain because he feels awkward hailing cabs.
4:40PM: Lots of hugs for Vince.
4:50PM: Judge said he will “impose a just and fair sentence” and the room erupted in applause. Fumo is making a statement. He’s crying. He says he’s given his life to his job and it was fun to help people. Ruth [Arnao] was wonderful and he’s sorry to her. He feels bad for Lenny and Mark and Howard Cain.
4:55PM: “I didn’t view my job as a normal politician. I used my power in a good way.”
4:58PM: “Judge, I’ve never intended to steal.” The Judge is listening intently. And appears very sympathetic.
5:00PM: Fumo apologizes for his “lapse in judgement” but he “couldn’t have done it any other way.”
5:04PM: There hasn’t been a day since his conviction where someone on the street didn’t wish him well, he says; and the Judge nodded.
5:06PM: He never took a per diem; the Inky never mentioned that. Fumo asks for mercy and compassion. The Judge is speaking.
5:10PM: Judge considers the nature of the offense and of the defendant. This was not the selling of an office. Fumo’s scheme was so uncomplicated that Inky staffers discovered it and in spite of the value of the press, their coverage was sensation. But coverage of the trial was fair. He thinks the voters failed in continuing to re-elect Fumo. “He’s a crook but he’s our crook” is a repugnant philosophy.
5:15PM: “Fumo developed a sense of entitlement. His obstruction wasn’t as bad as Nixon, but it was obstruction.” Now, he considers Fumo’s character; he was a great public servant and theretofore will depart from the guidelines for a lower sentence.
5:32PM: Vince Fumo has been sentenced to a fine of $411,000, restitution of $1.2M, and 55 months in jail. He will be allowed to turn himself in and he will not be allowed bail pending appeal. But he’ll be out until a turn-in date of August 31st. Three years probation.
Read more of Conor Corcoran’s coverage of the Fumo trial here.