Allentown’s indicted mayor faces jury trial

Two months after persuading voters to give him a fourth term, Allentown’s indicted mayor is taking his case to a jury.

Democrat Ed Pawlowski stands trial this week on federal corruption charges, with jury selection beginning Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors said the mayor ran a pay-to-play scheme, telling vendors he expected campaign contributions in return for city contracts.

The mayor said he’s innocent. His attorney, Jack McMahon, said prosecutors are peddling a “false narrative” about Pawlowski.

The Chicago native was Allentown’s economic development chief before taking office as mayor in January 2006. The city’s downtown has been transformed on his watch, with valuable state tax incentives producing a new hockey arena, gleaming office buildings and upscale apartments.

Two co-defendants were charged with Pawlowski. One of them, business consultant James Hickey, pleaded guilty last month.

The other defendant, lawyer Scott Allinson, is charged with bribing Pawlowski for legal work for his firm. He has pleaded not guilty and will be tried with Pawlowski.

Several other high-ranking Allentown officials were charged separately and have pleaded guilty.