SCRANTON, Pa.—A federal judge has rejected a last-ditch plea aimed at keeping a former northeastern Pennsylvania senator found mentally incompetent for trial out of a federal medical facility.

Attorneys for retired state Sen. Raphael Musto filed a 52-page brief Wednesday asking for a delay while they appeal the judge's ruling that their client was physically able to withstand the rigors of a trial.

The 84-year-old former lawmaker, whose trial on charges including bribery and fraud has been delayed over concerns about his health, is scheduled to report Monday to the Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.

Defense attorneys argued that Musto's detention was unjustified and risks to his health outweighed any harm a delay would cause to the government or public interest.

"The court's order effectively incarcerates Musto for up to four months even though Musto has not been found guilty of any crime and has not been detained before trial as a flight risk or a danger to the community," they said.

U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo quickly rejected the plea for more time, noting that the defendant had long sought a trial delay on the grounds of physical disability and mental incompetence, and he had "achieved the result that he sought."

Under federal law, placement in a federal medical prison "is not only the proper remedy for a finding of mental incompetence, it is a mandatory consequence," the judge said, according to The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice.


Prosecutors allege that Musto accepted cash and other perks in exchange for his help obtaining taxpayer money for development projects, and took additional cash as a reward for helping a municipality get state loans. He has pleaded not guilty.