Pennsylvania Corruption Trials

The biggest set of trials going on in Pennsylvania involves the use of public funds and resources for campaign purposes. These trials have already taken down some big names in Pennsylvania politics and threatens to take down even more. Former Representative John Perzel pleaded guilty to corruption and former Representative Brett Feese was found guilty. Jill Seaman, an aide to Feese, was found guilty and sentenced to almost two years in prison, several years of probation and restitution and fines.

Currently, former Speaker of the House Bill DeWeese is on trial with co-defendant Sharon Rodavich. Rodavich was one of DeWeese’s top aides during his time as Speaker. In a surprising turn of events, Rodavich changed her plea to guilty and is now going to testify against her former boss. Despite years of proclaiming innocence, she has now basically admitted what everyone has believed.

The charges originally stemmed from an investigation that started in 2007 and culminated in early 2010. The investigation was led by then Attorney General, now Governor, Tom Corbett. The first individual indicted and tried was former House Majority Whip Mike Veon. In a far fall from grace, the former legislator was found guilty and sentenced to up to 14 years in prison. Brett Cott, a legislative aide, and Veon’s district officer manager, Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, were also found guilty and sentenced to prison time.

The pressure is also on the Orie sisters as a corruption trial involving two of the three sisters is yet again delayed. This time the delayed retrial stems from a conflict in scheduling. The attorney representing the siblings had a scheduling conflict and was granted a one week continuance. This is just the latest in a trial that originally involved allegations of Senator Jane Orie using her staff to help her sister, Joan Orie Melvin, win a seat on the Superior Court. The case also involved a third sibling, Janine. During the trial for Jane and Janine, there were allegations of evidence forgery on the part of the defendants. In the end, a retrial was ordered. The case was first brought to court in the summer of 2010.

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