PHILADELPHIA (AP) - With his federal corruption trial set to start in just over a week, a powerful state legislator said he is "anxious" and has no way of knowing if he'll win or lose.
State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, who has twice before beaten corruption charges, told a Philadelphia newspaper that he has never been one to "throw in the towel."
"I liken it to (when) the doctor says you have cancer," Fumo told the newspaper. "Well, you don't go in the corner over there and just die. You fight it. You get chemo. You get whatever you can get. You may win, you may not."
He said there is no way of knowing whether a jury will side with him.
"When you go down there, you put your life in the hands of 12 people," he said. "You have no idea what they are like, who they are. Will they understand?"
Last year, federal prosecutors unveiled a 139-charge indictment alleging that Fumo defrauded the state Senate, a seaport museum and a nonprofit by using their staff and assets to do his personal and political work. He has maintained his innocence.
"How could you not fight for your life?" he said. "I mean there are people who commit suicide, there's no question about it. Their problems get so overwhelming. They can't take it anymore, and they throw in the towel, literally, in a quite severe way. I've never been that way."
Fumo, who has spent 30 years in the Senate, said he made the right decision not to seek re-election after his term ends in November. Prosecutors say he once controlled more than 90 state jobs, in part as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"Under the circumstances, I have not looked back. It would have been near impossible to carry on an election and a defense at the same time," he said. "There's no question that the case caused my retirement. ... If the case weren't there, would I have retired? Maybe in four years."
He said he was not sure what he will do after he leaves the Senate, but that he might go into business or teach political science at the graduate level.
"I don't know," Fumo said. "I can't focus past Sept. 8."