Pa. court upholds DeWeese's sentence

Former lawmaker serving jail term for corruption


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HARRISBURG -- A state appellate court has rejected an appeal by former state Rep. Bill DeWeese, who is serving prison time for a corruption conviction. The decision by a three-judge panel of the Superior Court was made public Friday.

In the appeal, DeWeese's lawyers raised various issues, including a claim that the trial judge abused his discretion by limiting the number of defense witnesses who testified, but the panel focused mainly on the monetary value of the campaign work that legislative employees did for DeWeese while they were on state time.

In a memo accompanying the decision, Senior Judge William Platt noted that prosecutors calculated the amount using the salaries of four legislative staffers and their own estimates of the percentage of work time they spent on campaign activities between 2002 and 2006.

The three judges said the evidence and their own review of the record "supports the trial court finding that [DeWeese] stole over $100,000 in services, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion" in sentencing him.

William Costopoulos, DeWeese's lawyer, said he plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

DeWeese, a former Greene County lawmaker whose 35 years in the House included a two-year stint as speaker, is serving a 21/2- to five-year term at Retreat State Prison in northeastern Pennsylvania. He also was ordered to pay $116,669 in costs and fines.

DeWeese was the only sitting legislator to stand trial among the 25 Democrats and Republicans connected to the House who were arrested in a state corruption investigation. Most pleaded guilty.

state

First Published August 17, 2013 4:00 AM


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