Thursday, February 4, 2010

Veon Trial Halted Temporarily

The four-day-old public corruption trial of former Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Mike Veon and 3 former aides took an unexpected turn this morning. Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis ordered lawyers into his
chambers after a Veon's attorney Dan Raynak contended that the prosecution's key witness Mike Manzo changed his testimony.
The former Beaver County State Representative Veon and the other defendants are
accused of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest in alleged schemes to use tax dollars to pay for illegal bonuses to state employees for campaign work.
DUQ's Capitol Reporter Scott Detrow says Raynak was aggressive in his cross-examination of Manzo and alleged that Manzo was either lying about conversations with Veon about bonuses or the prosecution was withholding evidence. At that point, Judge Lewis had the jury removed from the courtroom. At issue is whether Manzo ever said before January that he remembered specific conversations with Veon about giving bonuses to legislative employees who worked on campaigns, among other things.
Raynak says he read the grand jury transcripts and claims Manzo did not mention the conversations with Veon until December. The prosecution said at worst Manzo may have misspoken but it's not grounds for impeachment of Manzo's testimony.

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