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Pennsylvania

Jury finds Democrat guilty of corruption

The Associated Press
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Accompanied by his daughter Catherine, left, former York, Pa. state rep. Stephen Stetler leaves the courtroom of the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa. after being found guilty on all six counts in his political corruption trial on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin)

HARRISBURG — A former state representative and onetime Pennsylvania revenue secretary was convicted of corruption on Wednesday in what could be the final trial of a five-year-old state investigation.

A Dauphin County jury found former Rep. Stephen Stetler, D-York, guilty on six felony counts stemming from his participation in a scheme to use public employees to do illegal campaign work. His case was the last of 25 defendants in the state attorney general’s legislative corruption probe to be resolved.

The jurors convicted him on all the charges he faced: four counts of theft and one each of conspiracy and conflict of interest. Stetler and his lawyer, Joshua Lock, declined to comment as they left the courtroom. Sentencing is expected in about three months, and until then Stetler, 62, remains free on bond.

“Once again, this shows that there was pattern of corruption in the Pennsylvania state Legislature,” said Senior Deputy Attorney General Ken Brown.

Stetler is all but certain to lose his state pension. Brown said state law requires forfeiture for any public official convicted of theft while in office, although that would not occur until after Stetler is sentenced.

During five days of testimony, prosecutors portrayed Stetler as a willing participant in a scheme by House Democratic leaders to illegally have taxpayer-paid legislative employees perform campaign work.

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