Friday, February 5, 2010

Veon Defense Tries to Punch Holes in Case

Former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon’s attorney attempted to discredit the prosecution’s key witness during day four of a legislative corruption trial in Harrisburg. Head defense attorney Dan Raynak did everything he could to muddy one-time top aide Mike Manzo’s credibility. He pointed to an important portion of Manzo’s key testimony saying the details of face-to-face conversations he allegedly had with Veon and other co-defendants about the bonuses-for-campaign work scheme wasn’t discussed with prosecutors until after Manzo had secured a plea deal, which has the potential to drastically reduce any eventual prison sentence. The questioning came to a head in the last hour of Thursday’s session, when Raynak went through each conversation Manzo had detailed during his first two days on the stand. Raynak repeatedly asked, “What day did it happen? What month? What season?” Manzo couldn’t answer. Raynak then asked whether anyone other than Manzo, Veon or co-defendant Brett Cott witnessed the conversations. Manzo said, “No.” At one point Raynak responded, “So the only person who can verify is you, a person, who, you’re not denying you’re responsible for 42 felonies?” Early on in his cross examination Raynak tried to cast doubt on the hundreds of emails the prosecution is using to make the case that Veon and three co-defendants used public resources for political purposes. Raynak alleged in his opening statement that former Minority Leader Bill DeWeese and his lawyers could have altered the emails before they were given to the Attorney General’s office. The defense’s cross-examination continues today.

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