Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Veon to Appeal Conviction

Former Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Mike Veon is guilty on 14 counts of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest for using public money to conduct campaign work.
Onetime staffer Steve Keefer was cleared on all charges, while two other former employees are guilty on several counts.
The jury found Veon, a former Beaver County State Representative, guilty on charges related to bonuses for campaign work schemes in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
He’s also guilty of conducting campaign work on state time, financing campaign communications efforts with tax dollars, and ordering legislative staffers to cart his motorcycles around the country while on the clock.
Prosecutor Frank Fina says the verdicts send a message to corrupt lawmakers.

"To stop using the people’s money for personal benefit. For their own personal ambitions and their own political whims."

Veon’s wife cried while the verdicts were read, but the ex-Beaver County looked straight at the judge, showing no emotion.
He spoke to reporters afterwards.

"I’m thrilled for Steve Keefer. Clearly in my view neither Steve Keefer, nor Annamarie, Not Brett, should have been in this courtroom for the last six weeks. So I’m especially thrilled for Steve Keefer. He deserved it – but so did Brett and Annamarie. I’ll have more comments another time, another day."

Steve Keefer walked on all sixteen counts he faced and afterward said he just wanted to get back to his life.
Both Brett Cott and Annamarie Perretta Rosepink are guilty of doing campaign work on state time.
Veon’s lawyer, Dan Raynak, says he’s disappointed but he’ll file an appeal.

"This is just the beginning of the fight. This is far from over. We believe there were many errors made during the trial, and we will certainly anticipate and hope that this verdict does not stand."

Raynak says he’s still convinced Attorney General Tom Corbett’s investigation was politically motivated.

The jury deliberated for more than a week though Judge Richard Lewis ordered them to re-start their discussions on Friday, when a sick panelist was replaced with an alternate juror.
Sentencing for Veon, Perretta-Rosepink and Cott is set for May 21st.

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