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May 26, 2016

Feds: Philly judge admits lying to FBI in corruption case

Joseph O’Neill pleads guilty to making false statements

Courts Corruption
06252015_Gavel Brian Turner/Wikimedia Commons


A Philadelphia Municipal Court judge pleaded guilty to charges he lied to federal investigators regarding a conversation he had in connection with a corruption case, authorities announced Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Judge Joseph O’Neill, 65, admitted to making false statements to the FBI while the agency was investigating then-Municipal Court Judge Joseph Waters.

According to prosecutors, Waters, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2014, called O'Neill in September 2011 about someone who was scheduled to appear in front of O'Neill in court for a small claims case.

Waters told O'Neill that the defendant was a friend of his and asked him to “take a hard look at it," authorities said.

But when agents asked O'Neill about the conversation during their investigation into Waters, he denied being contacted by anyone about the case in advance of the hearing.

A sentencing hearing for O'Neill is scheduled for Sept. 7.