Pa. Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal by former Speaker DeWeese

Exchange Convicted Lawmakers Lobbyists
In this Dec. 16, 2009, file photo, Pennsylvania state Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Greene, talks to reporters after an arraignment in Harrisburg, Pa.

HARRISBURG — The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by onetime House Speaker Bill DeWeese, who served two years in prison after his conviction on corruption charges.

The court in an order Tuesday said it would take up DeWeese’s claim that 14 witnesses were inappropriately excluded from testifying at his 2012 trial, and that his trial attorney, William Costopoulos, failed to properly preserve their testimony.

DeWeese, a Greene County lawmaker who was once the highest-ranking Democrat in the House, was convicted of theft, conspiracy and violating state law on conflicts of interest after prosecutors presented testimony from witnesses who said he “made little to no genuine effort to ensure that staffers campaigned on leave time.”

His appeal marks the latest example of a former legislator challenging his conviction in the several criminal cases that grew out of the “Bonusgate” corruption scandal that ensnared legislators and staffers from both political parties.




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