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Three more Pa. lawmakers charged with bribery

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Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced Tuesday charges against three more elected officials in a corruption investigation.

Former State Rep. Harold James along with current State Reps. Michelle Brownlee and Louise Bishop are facing several charges including conspiracy and bribery.

The three Democrats are from Philadelphia but appeared before a Dauphin County judge. They will be tried in Dauphin County because of their political office, and that is where some of the crimes allegedly happened.

Prosecutors say all three separately accepted money in exchange for political favors from a confidential informant who was wearing a wire. Court documents detail dozens of meetings between the accused legislators and the confidential informant. Recordings that were made by the confidential informant show Brownlee accepting one cash payment of $2,000, Bishop accepting three cash payments totaling $1,500 and James accepting one payment totalling $750.

According to court documents, Brownlee and James testified before the investigating grand jury and admitted to what they had done.  The documents also show that Bishop testified before the grand jury but would not answer questions about her relationship with the CI. Two other state representatives have already been charged for similar offenses.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane stopped the investigation saying the case was flawed, but Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams found enough evidence to re-open the case.

District Judge Michael Smith set bail $50,000 unsecured. They are expected back in court next Thursday for their preliminary hearings.