UPDATE: A new trial date of Sept. 14, 2015, was set today for Chaka Fattah Jr.'s trial on fraud charges.
AN APPEALS COURT yesterday ruled in favor of the U.S. government in a fraud case against Chaka Fattah Jr., paving the way for a new trial date to be set in federal court against the son of the prominent U.S. congressman.
Fattah Jr., 32, the son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, is not a lawyer but is representing himself.
He was indicted by the feds in July, charged with defrauding several banks, the IRS and the School District of Philadelphia of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also is accused of filing false income-tax returns.
On March 4, five days before Fattah Jr. was to face trial, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted his emergency motion for a trial delay pending his appeal.
Fattah Jr. had filed numerous motions before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, who will preside over Fattah's fraud trial.
He unsuccessfully sought to have the 23-count indictment against him dismissed. He also sought information about the investigating grand jury in his case, some of which was granted, while other information was denied.
Fattah Jr. appealed Bartle's denials to the Third Circuit.
A three-judge panel yesterday granted the government's motion to dismiss Fattah's appeal.
It also said it does not have jurisdiction over Bartle's orders denying Fattah's motions to dismiss the indictment and to disclose the grand-jury information because those orders are not final judgments (since the case has not yet been tried).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray said yesterday that Fattah Jr.'s trial can be rescheduled in federal court. Bartle's deputy clerk yesterday scheduled a telephone conference for this afternoon among the judge, Gray and Fattah Jr., likely for purposes of scheduling a new trial date.
Fattah Jr. said by phone yesterday: "I am grateful to the Third Circuit for its review of the issues I raised on appeal. Their ruling was on jurisdictional [grounds], a technical issue, and was nothing on the merits of the appeal. That means that these same issues can be raised in the future."
Fattah Jr. has denied the charges against him and contends that they are politically motivated because his father, a longtime Democratic congressman who represents parts of Philly and Montgomery County, also has been under federal investigation.