DeWeese corruption trial set to begin

    A trial on corruption charges begins today for former Pennsylvania State House Speaker Bill DeWeese.

    The prosecution has charged DeWeese with conspiracy, theft of service and conflict of interest.

    Like other state politicians in what’s become known as “Bonusgate,” the former Speaker is accused of using legislative employees for campaign work.

    This is the most significant in a string of Pennsylvania ethics trials, said Chris Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg College, says

    “Bill DeWeese was a powerful force in state politics and to have someone of this stature go on trial as part of the broader ‘Bonusgate’ investigation is fairly monumental,” Borick said.

    If found guilty, as many other “Bonusgate” politicians have been, Borick says DeWeese could face significant jail time.

    DeWeese, a Democrat, denies the charges. He says former Attorney General Tom Corbett, now governor, “had it out for him.”

    DeWeese’s former aide and co-defendant, Sharon Rodavich, struck a deal with the prosecution last week, agreeing to testify against her longtime boss.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.