State Rep. Louise Bishop Pleads No Contest to One Count in Corruption Case
State Representative Louise Bishop has been reelected to state government 13 times, but she’s resigning immediately as part of a plea deal with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.
Bishop pleaded no contest on Wednesday morning to one misdemeanor involving her statement of financial interests. She faces six months of probation and must pay $6,500 in restitution and court costs. She had also been charged with bribery and conspiracy, among other offenses.
The conviction stems from a gift totaling $1,500 that she accepted but did not report. The money came from lobbyist Tyron Ali, who sought Bishop’s assistance after he was arrested for stealing from a state program. Ali offered Bishop money, and she accepted. Little did Bishop know, Ali was wearing a wire.
Bishop’s deed was once part of the undercover sting investigation infamously abandoned by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who is now facing her own criminal trial. That investigation was later restarted by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who announced Bishop’s plea deal. Williams’ investigation has yielded the arrest of six Philadelphia Democrats, including Bishop.
Had the case moved forward, Philadelphia ADA Frank Fina — yes, the same guy in hot water over pornographic emails — would have testified on Wednesday, and Kane might have testified at some point as well.
Bishop attorney Chuck Peruto had entered a motion claiming that Bishop and the other legislators were all targeted because they are African American.
“The withdrawal of the defense’s motion of selective prosecution based on race clearly shows that the investigation and prosecution of these elected officials was never based on race,” said Williams in a statement on Wednesday. “The plea and subsequent conviction of Ms. Bishop shows that I have done what my office has been charged by the citizens of Philadelphia to do: fight corruption and make this city safe. Personally, today’s announcement has marked the end of a difficult chapter in this special investigation because I’ve known Rep. Bishop since I was four years old and tremendously respect her and her work as a community leader, elected official, radio personality and member of the clergy, but she did the right thing today by not contesting the facts we presented in court and withdrawing her motion.”
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