With less than a week to go before former state Sen. Vincent Fumo is set to report to prison to begin serving a 55-month term, his ultimate fate could be significantly affected by developments in an obscure child pornography case from New Jersey that could play a key role in the Justice Department’s decision about whether to appeal Fumo’s sentence as too lenient.

Any appeal by the government in a federal criminal case must be approved in Washington, and court documents show that the prosecutors in Philadelphia are in the process of seeking permission to appeal U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter’s sentencing of Fumo.

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