Federal prosecutors and FBI agents have subpoenaed financial information from five Philadelphia judges, sought campaign-donation records, and interviewed judges and political figures as part of a wide-ranging investigation over the last year, The Inquirer has learned.
Court officials and lawyers said they were unsure of the investigation’s focus. Two people said the FBI questioned them about what they called possible “fixing cases.” A third said agents asked about “pay-to-play,” the long-standing practice of campaign donors getting favors from public officials.
In an interview, Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. said prosecutors subpoenaed his campaign-finance filings in August.
“My understanding is there’s certainly an investigation,” William Brennan, Waters’ lawyer, said. “My understanding further is that agents have spoken to a number of [Philadelphia court] employees, including judges and administrators. The focus, frankly, is unclear to me at this point.”