HARRISBURG -- A jury this afternoon aquitted former state Rep. Sean Ramaley of all six criminal charges against him in connection with allegations with a government corruption probe.
The verdict came after four days of testimony on prosecutors accusations that Mr. Ramaley's part-time state job was a "sham" to allow him to collect a paycheck while he ran for office in 2004.
The Dauphin County jury of six men and six women deliberated for less than three hours.
Mr. Ramaley's lip quivered as the verdict was read.
His wife, meanwhile, burst into joyful tears and hugged her father, who was seated next to her in the front row. His mother, Christine Ramaley, who at points during the trial clutched rosary beads, also broke down in tears and leaned into the arms of her husband Arthur.
At least two members of his defense team cried, too.
Mr. Ramaley, who did not testify in his own defense, emerged from the courtroom triumphant. "Vindicated," he told reporters outside the courtroom.
"I did work. I did my job. I worked as hard as I could," he said of his six months of part-time employment in the Beaver Falls district office of former state Rep. Mike Veon.
His defense team brought in a parade of character witnesses, including a priest and a police chief, and called former co-workers who testified that they trained Mr. Ramaley to use the office computer system and that they saw him help at least three constituents.
Prosecutor Tony Krastek, during closing arguments, downplayed that work.
"Was this simply a sham job for Sean Ramaley?" Mr. Krastek asked jurors. "Did the work he did amount to incidental things? Work by accident?"
Jurors apparently didn't think so.
Most immediately left the court house after the verdict, and two stragglers declined to comment.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Tracie Mauriello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141. Follow her at www.twitter.com/pgPoliTweets.