Rep. DeWeese vows to stay as second lawmaker asks him to step down

The chorus grows. A second Democratic legislator says a longtime colleague convicted of theft should exit the House where he once presided.

State Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.) issued a statement on Wednesday saying Bill DeWeese — the chamber’s former Democratic leader — has "no business on House floor."

"He's a felon and he has to go," said Josephs.

On Monday, soon after a Dauphin County jury convicted DeWeese of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest (he was cleared of one theft count), Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia called on him to step down, saying he was “an embarassment” to the legislature. Both Josephs and Evans have served with DeWeese for more than a quarter century.

DeWeese, 61, said he was disappointed to hear of Josephs’ remarks, but repeated his vow to stay on till his April 24 sentencing — when he is required to resign — and which also happens to be primary election day.

The Greene County lawmaker, who is seeking to have his sentencing delayed, has vowed to appeal, and to seek reelection. He says he will be back in Harrisburg on Monday to present his nominating petitions to the Bureau of Elections.

The charges against him grew out of the long-running corruption investigation in the state Capitol launched by now-Gov. Tom Corbett. Prosecutors said DeWeese used legislative aides and other public resources for political work.

 

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