The first defendant sentenced in the legislative corruption investigation dubbed “Bonusgate” will go to prison for at least 21 months.
Former House Democratic staffer Brett Cott was convicted of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest in March for conducting political work with public resources.
Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis has sentenced him to 21 months to five years behind bars.
Cott also has to pay an 11-thousand dollar fine. His lawyer, Brian Walk, says the sentence is unjust.
"We’re disappointed with the whole case. 42 charges and three convictions, and the kid gets 21 months? 21 months? We’ve got drug dealers that the Attorney General’s office prosecutes that don’t get that much time. We’ve got violent offenders that don’t get that much time."
Lewis told Cott that he and the other House Democrats played with tax dollars “like Monopoly money,” and that the “electoral process suffered an incalculable blow” due to the taxpayer-funded bonuses Cott, former House Minority Whip Mike Veon and others handed out for campaign work.
Deputy Attorney General Marc Costanzo says he’s pleased with the decision.
"I thought the sentencing – sentence – was well within the range that we asked the court to give. And we think the sentence sends a pretty loud and clear message that this kind of activity will not be tolerated, and that you’re going to pay for those crimes."
Veon and former staffer Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink will be sentenced next month.