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Sen. Scarnati told to pay $29K in gerrymandering case legal costs

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG – A federal judge is ordering Pennsylvania’s top state senator to personally pay more than $29,300 to reimburse lawyers who successfully challenged the state’s congressional districts as unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled Friday that taxpayer-paid lawyers representing Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati improperly tried to move the legal challenge from state court to federal court last fall.

Baylson says the attempt violated procedural rules and other defendants hadn’t agreed to it.

The Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia had sought just over $52,700.

FILE - In this June 30, 2015, file photo, front from left to right, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, state House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, state Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and state Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, lead a news conference after Republican leaders engineered passage of state budget, liquor privatization and pension bills, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. It's deadline day in Pennsylvania's gerrymandering case for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and others to submit maps of new congressional district boundaries that they want the state's Supreme Court to adopt. The midnight deadline Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, gives justices four more days to impose new boundaries, just three months before Pennsylvania's primary elections. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)

Scarnati’s top aide Drew Crompton says they’re reviewing the order and, if needed, the Senate will appeal it. Crompton says assessing personal liability in governmental legal decisions is absurd and could interfere with good-faith litigation.

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