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The head of Philadelphia’s court system has ordered the importation of an out-of-county trial judge to oversee the legal challenge to the mayoral candidacy of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who by virtue of his role as the city’s longtime Democratic Party chief has had a hand in making successful countless judicial candidates. President Judge C. Darnell Jones II will ask the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to provide him with a non-Philadelphia judge for the purposes of In re Nominating Petition of Robert A. Brady. It is the second time Jones has made such a request in as many weeks. Last week, a Bucks County senior judge was brought in to preside over a hearing involving an ultimately voided grassroots challenge to plans to build casinos in Fishtown and South Philadelphia. Jones said Philadelphians shouldn’t be worried that his recent requests indicate a desire to bring in out-of-county judges any time a politically sensitive case comes down the pike. “It just so happened that these two happened to occur back to back, but the issues are totally unrelated,” Jones said. Brady opponent Tom Knox – the self-made millionaire whose frequent TV ads herald his plans of ridding City Hall of corruption – is leading the charge to knock the congressman out of the mayor’s race. A group of voters who enjoy Knox’s financial support have alleged in recently filed court papers that, among other fatal defects, Brady failed to make note of a city pension he receives when he filed the statement of financial interest required by law of all mayoral hopefuls. In their petition, Brady’s challengers wrote that Knox, though not named as an objector himself, “intends to provide assistance to objectors who may not be able to afford the legal fees to assert their rights.” Paul Rosen of Spector Gadon & Rosen, who is representing the Knox-affiliated group, said that counsel for Brady did not object to an out-of-county judge’s overseeing the matter. Rosen, who is handling the matter with associate Andrew DeFalco, said that while he would not have had a problem with a city judge presiding over Brady, “I think all the judges in Philadelphia might wish they didn’t get it.” Brady’s attorney in the case, Stephen Cozen of Cozen O’Connor, said he did not contest the Knox group’s request because such decisions are within the discretion of the city’s president judge. “I don’t want our position to be misconstrued – we would have been perfectly happy with any number of [Philadelphia] common pleas judges whose abilities we have great respect for,” Cozen said. In a letter dated Monday, Rosen called Jones’s attention to his request for an out-of-county judge in last week’s gaming-related hearing. As the city’s party chairman, Rosen wrote, Brady has “been involved in the support of political lives of many of the judges in this judicial district who could be involved with deciding his fate.”

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