WILKES-BARRE — An attorney representing former state Sen. Raphael J. Musto on federal corruption charges filed an affidavit Monday detailing his observations of Musto’s daily physical condition and behavior from Oct. 29 through Dec. 15 as they prepare for a competency hearing scheduled for Jan. 6.
Philadelphia attorney John E. Riley has been representing Musto since April 2010, seven months before after an indictment was returned against him for allegedly accepting bribes from a local contractor. Riley first summarized Musto’s deteriorating health since April 2010 in the affidavit in support of indefinitely postponing Musto’s trial.
Riley said Musto was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver in June 2011, became ill with flu-like symptoms in winter 2011 and began to lose weight and experience “dramatic periods of fatigue.”
He said Musto’s physical condition “steadily worsened” through a series of trial postponements and “continued to decline significantly” since October 2012.
In addition to more periods of extreme fatigue, Riley said Musto began to show “more substantial cognitive impairments, reflected by slurred speech, difficulty reading and retaining information, periods of confusion and lapses of concentration” and said it was increasingly “unavailable for me to assist in any trial preparation.”
Riley said he kept in closer contact with Musto since Oct. 29 and spoke with Musto about four days per week, usually Monday through Thursday, and asked him about his weekends on Mondays.
Many nights, Musto reported he couldn’t sleep because of a painful itching sensation, and had many days of fatigue. Mixed in were some “recovery days” without extreme fatigue, but Musto was still very tired, Riley wrote. He could not enjoy football games because he found it difficult to follow a game through an entire quarter. He could no longer attend daily Mass by early November. He became dizzy at a Sunday Mass and had to leave early.
Riley said a steroid injection on Nov. 21 helped tremendously for two days, but fatigue returned by Nov. 24. On Nov. 26, Musto told Riley he missed being able to read books because he couldn’t remember things from two paragraphs before.
Riley said he learned from Musto on Dec. 5 that a Citizens Voice reporter visited him on the previous day shortly after Riley left Musto’s house. Riley said Musto had “a 15-minute session with a reporter … resulting in a videotape and audio of Musto which he was unaware was being recorded.”
Riley said that Musto repeatedly fixated on the unfairness of a photo accompanying a story in the Dec. 4 paper and, “in contradiction to the fact the session was being recorded, did not agree to have a photo taken of him when requested at the end of the session.”
On Dec. 7, Musto reported “stroke-like symptoms,” including stiffening of the arms, a period of being totally incoherent and the inability to grasp a fork. Eight of the next nine days were all bad ones for Musto, Riley said, adding that Musto had only three or fewer good days between Oct. 29 and Dec. 15.
Riley said there was no way he could plan ahead to meet with Musto given the lack of any predictable pattern and the overwhelming majority of bad days.
“The opportunity to meet with him and even attempt to prepare for trial was virtually non-existent,” he said.