Thursday, February 11, 2016

From AG to DA's office, Blessington joins Philly corruption unit

From fighting corruption in the Capitol to rooting out criminals in Philadelphia City Hall and beyond...

From AG to DA's office, Blessington joins Philly corruption unit


From fighting corruption in the Capitol to rooting out criminals in Philadelphia City Hall and beyond...

Patrick Blessington - who as a senior deputy attorney general took a lead role in prosecuting former state Rep. Mike Veon and two former aides in the Bonusgate probe - joins Philadelphia district attorney's office.

He will be part of a new public corruption unit, said District Attorney Seth Williams who made the announcement today.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said Blessington will be missed but his departure will have no effect on the upcoming Bonusgate trials, including of former House Speaker John Perzel and former Democratic majority leader Bill DeWeese.

"He was a key part of our major investigations, said Nils Frederiksen. "But we have any number of veteran prosecutors to step in and we'll continue to move forward."

The Bonusgate probe, launched in 2007 by Attorney General Tom Corbett, has examined the use of millions in public funds to pay legislative staffers for campaign activities.

Blessington is no stranger to the District Attorney's office. He first joined it in 1986 after graduating from Villanova Law School and rose to the post of chief of the juvenile unit.

In 1997, Blessington left the office to join the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, where he was a senior deputy attorney general before rejoining the Philadelphia prosecutor's office on Wednesday.

Blessington will replace another veteran of more than 20 years in the District Attorney's office, Christopher Diviny, who on Monday will join the U.S. Attorney's office in Philadelphia.

Blessington will report directly to former federal prosecutor Curtis Douglas, who Williams hired and named the deputy for investigations




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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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