Former House leader DeWeese convicted of corruption

A former Democratic leader in the state House was convicted today on four or five corruption charges, mainly tied to him instructing government staff to do campaign work on taxpayers’ time.

State. Rep. William DeWeese, 61, was convicted on three of four counts of theft, and one count each of conspiracy and conflict of interest. His attorney, Bill Costopouos, vowed to appeal, and a defiant DeWeese said he would continue his reelection campaign.

“I am very saddened for Mr. DeWeese because I believed in the position we set forth,” Costopoulos told reporters after the verdict.

By law, DeWeese would have to give up his House seat upon sentencing in a few months.

DeWeese was part of the Democratic leadership in Harrisburg for two decades. The once-powerful legislator was among more than two dozen in the Democratic and Republican causes charged as part of a corruption investigation by the Attorney General’s Office in 2007. DeWeese, of Greene County, was the only sitting legislator to go to trial.

The Dauphin County jury, composed of seven women and five men, returned the decision after a little more than two days of deliberation.

Prosecutors said sentencing guidelines call for a minimum of nine to 16 months for each guilty count.

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