According to the Times Leader's Terri Morgan-Besecker Judge Michael T. Toole has entered a guilty plea to two charges in federal court yesterday.
A subdued Toole appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy to plead guilty to charges of honest services fraud and tax evasion.
“Your honor, with the strength of my faith and the support of my family and friends, I take complete responsibility for what I’ve done and will accept whatever punishment the court imposes,” Toole told Conaboy during the 45-minute hearing.
What Toole did, prosecutors say, is “corruptly abuse” his position as a judge to improperly influence an uninsured motorist arbitration case that came before him in 2006. In a separate matter, he also failed to report on his income taxes a $30,000 fee he received from another attorney.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not identified the attorneys involved in either case. Details contained in the charges indicate the attorney involved in the arbitration case was Harry Cardoni of Kingston. A source familiar with the probe identified the attorney who paid the referral fee as Robert Powell of Butler Township.