By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Jury deliberations are set to begin this morning in the public corruption trial of former state House speaker William DeWeese.
DeWeese, who is still member of the Pennsylvania House, is accused of using taxpayer-paid staff in his Harrisburg and district offices for campaign purposes.
DeWeese took the stand in his own defense as testimony came to a close (see related story).
“I do believe that Bill DeWeese needed to testify,” defense attorney William Costopoulos said. “I believe the jury wanted to hear from him, and I thought he did very, very well.”
On the witness stand, DeWeese said he routinely delegated authority while in Democratic leadership, and never personally pressured anyone to do campaign work.
But in his closing argument, the prosecutor said DeWeese conspired to have senior staffers compel underlings to do campaign work.
And the prosecutor told the jury even if staffers did campaign work on leave time, it’s still a crime if doing political work was linked to keeping their jobs.