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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania high court rejects appeal by former state Rep. DeWeese

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Former state Rep. Bill DeWeese has lost another round in his bid for a new trial on corruption charges.

The state Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to consider DeWeese’s appeal of a ruling against him by a three-judge Superior Court panel in August.

DeWeese, 63, is serving at least 2½ years in Retreat State Prison in northeastern Pennsylvania for using public employees and taxpayer resources for political purposes.

The lower court said the trial record showed that DeWeese stole taxpayer-provided services worth more than $100,000 and rejected his claim that the trial judge abused his discretion at sentencing.

The lion’s share of the money was attributed to a former aide who handled DeWeese’s political fundraising and testified against him under a grant of immunity from prosecutors.

DeWeese represented his southwestern Pennsylvania district for 35 years, serving much of his tenure in Democratic leadership, including a two-year stint as House speaker.

Barring any misconduct, DeWeese would be eligible for parole on March 28, Susan Bensinger, a spokeswoman for the state Corrections Department, said Wednesday.

DeWeese was the only sitting legislator to stand trial among the 25 Democrats and Republicans connected to the House of Representatives who were arrested in a sweeping state corruption probe. Most of the defendants were convicted.

His attorney did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.


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