Sunday, July 5, 2015

Veon convicted in Bonusgate trial

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HARRISBURG - Former Rep. Michael R. Veon, once among the most powerful politicians in the state Capitol, was convicted tonight of masterminding a scheme to have the public underwrite the campaigns of House Democrats.

He was found guilty on 14 counts of theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy. He was found not guilty on 45 counts.

Veon, 53, from Beaver County, showed no emotion as the jury of seven women and five men announced the verdicts. His wife, Stefanie, dabbed tears as they were read.

Three of his former top aides - Brett Cott, Steve Keefer and Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink - were also defendants in the case. Cott was found guilty in three of the 42 counts. Keefer was acquitted on all 16 counts. Perretta-Rosepink was found guilty of five of the 22 counts against her.

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The case that gave the Bonusgate corruption scandal its name centered on a secret scheme to award $1.4 million in government bonuses to legislative staffers as rewards for working on the campaigns of Democrats running for House seats between 2002 and 2006.

Veon, according to charges brought by Attorney General Tom Corbett, orchestrated the scheme while his top aides helped him carry it out.

The verdict comes at the end of seven days of deliberation and a trial that lasted six weeks, the longest in recent history for Dauphin County.

Veon, who lost reelection in 2006, was among 12 people associated with House Democrats to be swept up in the initial round of Bonusgate charges in July 2008. Seven of them, all top aides, had pleaded guilty in deals with prosecutors.

One of them, former Rep. Sean Ramaley (D., Beaver), was acquitted in December of charges that he held a no-work legislative job in 2004 when he successfully ran for the House.

Since the first set of charges, 13 others - 10 Republicans and three Democrats - have been charged in Corbett's corruption probe. They included two former House Speakers, Reps. John M. Perzel (R., Phila.) and Bill DeWeese (D., Greene).

 


Contact staff writer Mario F. Cattabiani at 717-787-5990 or mcattabiani@phillynews.com.

 

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