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Former Law Clerk Testifies In Orie Melvin Case

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) - Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's former law clerk took the stand Friday to accuse the justice of directing political campaign work by her state-funded staff, when Melvin was still a Superior Court judge.

Lisa Sasinoski's testimony Friday marked a shift in emphasis for the trial of Melvin and her suspended aide and sister, Janine Orie.

The siblings from the North Hills are charged with conspiring to use Melvin's state-paid Superior Court staff to illegally campaign in 2003 and again in 2009 when Melvin won a Supreme Court seat. They're charged with using the state-funded staff of a third sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, to campaign for Melvin as well.

Sasinoski, the wife of a sitting Allegheny County judge once worked for Judge Joan Orie Melivin as a law clerk when Melvin was a superior court judge running for Supreme Court.

At one point she testified she told Melvin she was uncomfortable with political work being done on state time.

"This has got to stop. This campaigning has got to stop," Sasinoski says she told Melvin.

But Sasinoski testified Melvin replied, "Stop? We've got to rev it up a notch!"

Sasinoski says not long after that conversation she was fired.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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