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Jury selection begins for corruption trial of former mayor

August 20, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jury selection has begun for the federal corruption trial of a former eastern Pennsylvania mayor accused of trading city contracts for campaign donations and bribing a former councilman to try and repeal an anti-pay-to-play ordinance.

Former Reading mayor Vaughn Spencer faces nine counts of bribery, one count of honest services fraud and one count of conspiracy.

Prosecutors allege that Spencer made it clear to donors he would withhold official action from individuals and businesses that didn’t provide satisfactory campaign contributions for his 2015 re-election effort. Those willing to pay, authorities allege, were rewarded with city contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Spencer, a Democrat who took office in 2012, lost the 2015 primary to current mayor Wally Scott. Spencer and his attorney declined comment after a hearing last week.

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