Updated: Perzel pleads to corruption charges

    Former Pa. House Speaker John Perzel appeared in court today in Harrisburg to plead guilty to charges in the “Bonusgate” scandal. WHYY’s Mary Wilson will have the full report later.

    Update, 2:30 p.m. Perzel and State Rep. Kevin Boyle, who defeated Perzel in last fall’s 172nd District election, have released statements about the plea.

    From Perzel: “The truth is that as the legislative leader of my caucus, I oversaw the spending of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, and I bear the responsibility for the improprieties that occurred in the spending of those dollars.  It was up to me to see that taxpayer funds were spent only for the betterment of the people of Pennsylvania, and not for my political benefit of that of my party.”

    From Boyle: “Unfortunately, the plight of Perzel mirrors the experience of many previously powerful Pennsylvania elected officials. This should serve as a stern reminder to elected officials that laws should not be broken in pursuit of power.”

     Update, 2 p.m. Perzel’s pleas to eight counts mean he faces up to 24 years in prison and $50,000 in fines, the Inquirer reports. Perzel’s nephew and former House tech employee  also pleaded guilty today.

    Update, 1:36 p.m. Perzel has entered his plea, admitting guilt in the charges of conflict of interest, conspiracy and theft, the Associated Press reports. He’s agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

    Original report: Just two weeks after three former staffers admitted guilt, former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel is expected to plead guilty tomorrow to public corruption charges.

     

    The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reports Perzel will be in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court at 1 p.m. to enter guilty pleas for his role in “Bonusgate,” though he’s maintained innocence up to this point.

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