Monday, February 1, 2010

Mike Veon et al Trial Starts Today

Joe Hermit Patriot News Photo

His day in court has finally arrived in Harrisburg. In a story found on PennLive from the Associated Press former Representative Mike Veon and three aides will be in court today for the opening of their trial related to charges the media has labeled as "Bonusgate".

The criminal trial of former General Assembly dealmaker Michael R. Veon and three of his ex-aides, which begins in earnest Monday with opening statements in a Harrisburg courtroom, represents a milestone in the attorney general’s three-year public corruption investigation of the Legislature.

The case is also a significant factor in this year’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign and should give voters more details about how some of their state lawmakers have balanced their legal obligations with their political ambitions.

A focus of the trial is expected to be testimony by at least some of the seven people, all former House Democratic staffers, who were arrested with Veon and the three others in July 2008 but who recently pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors. The proceedings follow a full acquittal won in December by the only defendant so far to go to trial in the investigation: former state Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Beaver.

The defendants — Veon, 53, once the No. 2 ranking House Democratic leader; campaign guru Brett W. Cott, 37; computer services supervisor Stephen A.H. Keefer, 39; and Veon district office manager Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, 47 — are accused of conflict of interest, theft and conspiracy in what the attorney general’s office alleges was a multimillion-dollar effort to siphon off public resources for private benefit. The trial is expected to last about a month.

For sure this will be a make or break deal for Tom Corbett's polling in his race for Governor of Pennsylvania. He staked his career on making this investigation his statement on government reform.

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