Acquitted in Bonusgate, Keefer sues for job, $2 million

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HARRISBURG -- A defendant acquitted in the Bonusgate government corruption case is demanding his state job back and suing for more than $2 million in punitive damages and back pay from state officials, attorneys and former colleagues.

Stephen Keefer had been information technology director for the House Democratic caucus from 2002 to 2007, when he was fired and implicated in an illegal scheme to divert public resources to political campaigns.

Jurors this spring acquitted him of all charges but convicted three co-defendants, including former Democratic state Rep. Mike Veon.

Now, Mr. Keefer, 40, of Lebanon County, is asking for another jury to decide a civil case in which he seeks restitution and punitive damages from dozens of defendants.

Filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District, the suit names Attorney General Tom Corbett, whose office prosecuted Mr. Keefer; state Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, who fired him; House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne; Speaker Keith McCall, D-Carbon; caucus counsel Bill Sloane and Bill Chadwick; attorney Matthew Haverstick, who represented several witnesses in the criminal case; and several named and unnamed caucus employees.

Filed by Attorney Richard C. Angino of Harrisburg, the suit alleges that the criminal investigation was politically motivated. It was conducted by prosecutors from the office of Mr. Corbett, who is running for governor.

Corbett spokesman Nils Frederiksen said evidence, not politics, drove the charges.

The suit alleges that Mr. DeWeese, who was then majority leader, conspired with Mr. Corbett to determine "who would be prosecuted and who would not be, who would retain jobs and who would be fired, who would have their counsel fees paid and who would not, and who would retain [employment] benefits and who would not."

Mr. DeWeese eventually was charged in an offshoot of the investigation.

Mr. Angino alleges that the defendants wrongfully fired his client, damaged his reputation and deprived him of his right to due process.

Tracie Mauriello: or 1-717-787-2141.


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