Seven former staffers from the House Democratic caucus have pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett’s three-year government corruption investigation that has become known as Bonusgate. Former State Rep. Michael Veon is scheduled to go on trial for similar charges on January 19th. The defendants conspired “to pay bonuses of legislative funds — taxpayer money — to legislative employees for political campaign work,” prosecutor James Reeder told Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Lewis.
The guilty pleas come from staffers who held critical posts, including Veon’s former chief of staff, Rep. Bill DeWeese’s former chief of staff, and the former director of the Democratic Legislative Research Office. Computer forensics expert witness Gregory Kelley gave crucial testimony regarding e-mail message evidence in the case.
Pittsburgh defense attorney Joel Sansone argued to exclude the messages because they were obtained from state Rep. Bill DeWeese, who they claim was a co-conspirator and had the opportunity to exclude messages that might implicate himself or clear others. He also would have had the opportunity to alter messages.
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