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Son of Pa. congressman fights lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA — The son of a veteran US representative is awaiting trial over $200,000 in bank loans that fueled his image as a self-proclaimed “lifestyle mogul,” but he calls himself collateral damage in the Justice Department’s long-running investigation of his father.

The FBI believes Chaka Fattah Jr. misspent loans and some of the nearly $1 million in federal education funds he obtained — despite never finishing college — as a 27-year-old school management subcontractor living in a $600,000 condo, spending lavishly on cars for himself and his girlfriend, and racking up $33,000 in casino gambling debts.

And when tax time came around, authorities said, he was lax about filing returns annually and instead filed a batch of them in late 2010. IRS agents, finding the returns suspect, raided his bachelor pad a year later.

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In a trial memo last month, prosecutors said Fattah’s companies were merely a shell for business loans he spent on ‘‘extravagant personal living expenses.’’

But rather than cower in the midst of FBI stings that have ensnared his college roommate and two advisers to his father — Representative Chaka Fattah Sr. — the younger Fattah has instead fought back, acting as his own lawyer.

‘‘Chip’’ Fattah, now 31, scored an early victory this month when a US appeals court agreed to delay the case and review one of his countless legal challenges. A legal brief in the case is due Tuesday.

Associated Press