After guilty plea, Perzel apologizes to Pennsylvanians

    Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel has pleaded guilty to eight charges of public corruption in a sweeping probe related to the misuse of taxpayer dollars.

    In a Dauphin County courtroom, Perzel raised his right hand Wednesday and pleaded guilty to criminal charges of conflict of interest, theft, and conspiracy.

    After the hearing, he issued an apology to the people of Pennsylvania.

    “I want to express my profound regret for my actions,” he said in statement. “You had a right to expect better from me, and I am sorry that I let you down.”

    Hi crimes include using legislative technology resources and staff for campaign purposes and campaign fundraising, and his use of tax dollars to pay for campaign-related contracts.

    Outside the courtroom, Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank mentioned another lawmaker swept up in the legislative corruption probe: former Democratic whip, Michael Veon, who was found guilty.

    Fina says Perzel’s pleas to eight felonies are substantial.

    “I think we’ve once again demonstrated as we did with the Veon prosecution that it’s a crime in Pennsylvania to use the people’s money the people’s resources for campaign purposes for personal purposes,” Fina said. “The money’s supposed to be used for the taxpayers’ benefit.

    Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis says it’ll be up to the state pension board to decide when Perzel must forfeit his pension. Until then, Perzel is collecting more than $7,000 a month.

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