Judge won't delay Pennsylvania politician's prison term

Reuters News
Posted: May 11, 2012 4:48 PM
Judge won't delay Pennsylvania politician's prison term

By Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A judge on Friday denied a request by former Democratic Pennsylvania legislative leader William DeWeese to delay his prison term for using state employees to campaign for him for free.

In rejecting the request, Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover ordered DeWeese, 62, to surrender to the state Department of Corrections on Monday as previously scheduled to begin serving his 30- to 60-month sentence for corruption.

One of Pennsylvania's most influential politicians, DeWeese ran unopposed in the Pennsylvania primary on April 24 to become the Democratic nominee for his longtime seat in the state House of Representatives. The same day, he was sentenced to prison, making him a felon ineligible to hold state office unless he wins on appeal.

Defense lawyers argued that DeWeese, who represented southwestern Pennsylvania in the House for 35 years, should remain free on bail during his appeal.

But prosecutors fought that request and won on Friday.

DeWeese, who served as House majority whip and speaker, was convicted of conspiracy, conflict of interest and theft for using taxpayer-paid staff for his own political purposes.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Mohammad Zargham)