It’s been one of his contentions for more than a year and the subject of a federal lawsuit — Chaka Fattah Jr.’s claims that the FBI and IRS ruined his reputation in February 2012 by tipping off media to an early morning raid of his apartment at the Ritz Carlton.
On Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors who are trying Fattah Jr. on fraud charges called a surprise witness: FBI agent RJ Haag, who acknowledged that he had tipped off the press to the raid.
While questioning Haag, prosecutor Paul Gray asked if Haag came forward with this information “so I would not misspeak or mischaracterize the government’s position.”
Haag said yes.
“So I was not aware of any of this until today?” Gray asked. Haag said yes.
“I don’t believe it,” Fattah Jr. said outside court of Gray’s assertion that he was unaware of Haag’s conduct. “He [Haag] didn’t want government lawyers … to misrepresent anything? … That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.”
Prosecutors argue that Fattah Jr. set up multiple phony businesses to acquire huge loans from various banks, which he allegedly spent on his own lifestyle, and conspired to over-bill the School District of Philadelphia as a consultant to Delaware Valley Charter High School.
Fattah Jr., who is scheduled to begin presenting his defense Thursday, said he will call witnesses including former gov. Ed Rendell who will testify that his businesses were real.
Fattah Jr.’s father,Rep. Chaka Fattahwas charged in August withaccepting bribes, using federal funds to repay campaign debts and using campaign contributions to pay his son’s student loan debts.
He has long said that the charges against him are the result of a long-standing investigation by overzealous prosecutors, including Gray who is handling both cases.
Additional reporting by Dan Kelley