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Former Pa. Speaker Testifies Against Former Colleague In Corruption Case

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(John Perzel, center, is accompanied by his lawyer as he leaves a Harrisburg courtroom today.   Credit: Tony Romeo)

(John Perzel, center, is accompanied by his lawyer as he leaves a Harrisburg courtroom today. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - Former Pennsylvania house speaker John Perzel of Philadelphia was on the witness stand today as the trial of two co-defendants in a public corruption case continues in a Harrisburg courtroom.

When the charges were announced two years ago against ten people then associated with the state House Republican caucus, former speaker John Perzel (R-Phila.) was identified as the alleged mastermind of a scheme to use millions of taxpayer dollars for computer technology to gain an edge in elections.

Since then, most of the defendants — including Perzel — have entered guilty pleas in the case (see related story).

Two defendants are on trial right now, including Brett Feese, a former lawmaker whom Perzel put in charge of the House Republican Campaign Committee.

On the witness stand today, Perzel testified that Feese had to know about the scheme.  Perzel testified repeatedly that “we all crossed the line.”

Under cross-examination by Feese’s attorney, Perzel was asked if he’s not lying now in an effort to reduce the risk of a hefty sentence.  The former speaker answered by saying he’s admitted his guilt and is ready to accept his sentence.

Perzel had no comment for reporters as he left the courtroom.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo

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