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Closing Arguments Scheduled In Chaka Fattah Trial

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Closing arguments are set for Monday in the racketeering conspiracy trial of Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah.

When the political corruption trial of Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah began in mid-May, it was thought the case would last at least eight weeks.

Despite its complexities - there were 900,000 pages of documents to sift through - it's wrapping up in its fourth week.

Federal prosecutors spent three weeks laying out their charges in the 29-count indictment, contending Fattah and four "loyal subordinates" who were part of his inner circle "were all in it to boost the congressman's financial and political fortunes."

Prosecutors needed to wheel in two shopping carts worth of binders to present their case, sifting through chains of emails, checks, grand jury testimony, and documents they collected.

Each of the binders was labeled by "scheme," of which the government alleges there were five.

The defense spent three days arguing prosecutors were overreaching and "taking the work of a dedicated public servant and turning it into a crime."

Neither the 59-year old Congressman nor any of his associates took the stand.

Fattah is an 11-term Congressman who lost his Democratic primary race just a few weeks before the trial started. He will be finishing out his term in office in the months ahead.

He'll find out in the days ahead whether he'll potentially face prison, if convicted, or be vindicated, if acquitted, as he claims the charges are frivolous.

One key element of the trial centered on what prosecutors describe as an illegal $1 million campaign loan in the final days of his unsuccessful run for Mayor in 2007.

They contend Fattah misappropriated federal grants and charitable donations to repay $600,000 of it.

Fattah's lawyers told jurors two political strategists who were involved in that campaign, who pleaded guilty and testified, cooked up the scheme themselves.

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