A jury on Monday convicted a senior Democrat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on all but one of six charges in the latest corruption trial stemming from a five-year investigation into the use of taxpayers’ resources for political purposes.
Rep. Bill DeWeese was convicted of felony counts of conspiracy, conflict of interest and three counts of theft, while the Dauphin County jury acquitted him of one other theft count.
The verdict, reached early on the third day of deliberations, struck a grave blow to the 35-year career of the former floor leader who also once served as House speaker. A woman seated with DeWeese’s family cried out when the first guilty verdict was announced.
DeWeese’s lawyer vowed to appeal. DeWeese said he intended to keep his House seat — despite a constitutional provision interpreted to bar any felon from serving in public office — and continue his re-election campaign in his southwestern Pennsylvania district.
“I certainly feel that I did nothing wrong,” the 61-year-old DeWeese told reporters.
“I believe that, in the court of public opinion, I shall be favorably received to some substantial degree. That’s up to the voters, but I certainly will continue to run,” the Greene County lawmaker said.