Being half-Italian and from South Philly, I’m pleased that attorney George Bochetto led the fight to stop the city from removing the popular statue of Christopher Columbus from the predominantly Italian-American neighborhood where I grew up and still reside. Bochetto, who is now running in the Republican primary race for the vacant U.S. Senate seat, won the case, but the city is appealing.
I reached out to George Bochetto and asked him why he was running for the U.S. Senate.
“Taking control in the mid-term elections of the House and the Senate by Republicans is of absolutely critical importance to the future of this country,” Bochetto replied. “Public safety is at an all-time low. It is not just at a discouraging level; it is at a crisis level. We need sensible leadership to combat these forces at work that want to promote sanctuary cities and district attorneys who refuse to prosecute and fulfill their oaths of office. They don’t look at bail seriously and put dangerous violent criminals back on the street the same day.
“Until we have responsible leadership in Washington to address these issues, we are going to continue to suffer. It is not just Philadelphia; it is creeping out in the suburbs now and becoming a crisis. That is why I am running. I have the demonstrated history of fighting for the causes that we need to stand up for.”
Bochetto said that what is needed is a candidate to promote conservative core values to get the country back on track. Bochetto has used a cool million of his own money to jump start his campaign, but he said he is also raising funds from a broad sweep of supporters who are familiar with his history.
At a recent appearance outside of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5, Bochetto and his client Maureen Faulkner, the widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, called for disqualifying Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in the upcoming appeal of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering Daniel Faulkner in 1982.
Bochetto said that Abu-Jamal filed a sixth petition, alleging “newly discovered evidence,” in a box of documents that Krasner claimed to have found in the DA’s storeroom. Bochetto said this was “a complete crock.”
“The problem is that Larry Krasner is so deeply conflicted on this case, as are other members of the District Attorney’s office. They cannot be trusted to do a good job in defending against this latest petition,” Bochetto said. “We want Larry Krasner disqualified and a special prosecutor to come in and defend those petitions. That’s not just our idea; it is fully in accord with the opinion of Justice Dougherty of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from about a year and a half ago when we filed a King’s Bench Petition in the Supreme Court concerning Krasner’s conflict of interest.”
I noted that Bochetto has been quoted as saying that Krasner has been doing whatever he can to free Abu-Jamal rather than prosecute him.
“I have evidence that he has completely and purposely mishandled the defense of the fifth petition that Abu-Jamal filed in an effort to get him turned free on that petition,” Bochetto said.
I asked Bochetto what has sustained his client Maureen Faulkner all of these years in her fight to counter the powerful campaign to free Abu-Jamal.
“Having gotten to know Maureen very well, she has just got the inner strength of a princess. She will not back down. She cannot be bullied. She cannot be intimidated. She has a very strong belief in what is right and wrong, and when she stands up for what is right, she is just a relentless person. And she does it with class and dignity. She is a special person.”
I asked Bochetto if he supported the movement in the Pennsylvania State Legislature to recall Krasner.
“I absolutely do. He is refusing to carry out his oath of office,” Bochetto said. “I think it is so inimical to the citizens of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, and I’ve studied this a great deal, there is no provision within the City’s Home Rule Charter to impeach or recall a city-elected official. We must rely on Harrisburg to do it.”
Paul Davis’ Crime Beat appears here each week. He can be reached via pauldavisoncrime.com