Attorney Confirms John Perzel’s Guilty Plea

Former state House speaker John Perzel is set to plead guilty today in the sweeping corruption probe into the misuse of state resources by several lawmakers.

Perzel was charged, along with former Republican lawmaker Brett Feese and eight former Perzel and Feese aides, in November 2009. The longtime Northeast Republican was accused of using more than $10 million of taxpayers’ money purely for campaign work and then trying to cover his tracks.

Perzel’s attorney, Fortunato Perri, confirmed that his client would plead guilty, but he declined to say to which charges or elaborate on the decision. Until today, Perzel had denied any wrongdoing and said he had no plans to accept a plea.

Earlier this month, Perzel’s former chief of staff, Paul Towhey; his brother-in-law and former House employee, Samuel “Buzz” Stokes; and Perzel’s former campaign aide Don McClintock pleaded guilty. Perzel’s trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

Perzel, first elected in 1978, had represented the Northeast until losing to Democratic challenger Kevin Boyle in 2010.

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