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Defense in Phila. Traffic Court Ticket-Fixing Case Expected To Open Next Week

By Tony Hanson


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The prosecution is winding down in the federal trial of six former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges charged in a ticket-fixing scandal.

These defendants have pleaded not guilty, although three other judges and a court administrator charged in the case pleaded guilty earlier.

Today, school bus driver Natisha Mathis testified that she had received several tickets on her personal car and, concerned about losing her job, she reached out to a friend who put her in touch with one of the defendants, former judge Willie Singletary.

(Prosecutor Denise Wolf:)  "And after you hung up the phone with him, what was your impression, if any, he was going to do for you?"

(Mathis:)  "Take care of the tickets."

(Wolf:)  "How so?  What was your belief at that time?"

(Mathis:)  "I guess, not making me guilty of them, the tickets or something."

(Wolf:)  "And that was your impression when you hung up with Judge Singletary?"

(Mathis:)  "Yes."

Mathis says she doesn't know exactly what happened after that but the tickets, handled separately by two of Singletary's co-defendant judges, went away.  She didn't get any points, fines, or other penalties.

The defense has suggested that the defendant judges were merely exercising their proper discretion.  One defense attorney notes that Singletary said nothing more than "OK" when told about the tickets.

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