By Tony Romeo


SOMERSET, Pa. (CBS) — One former state House speaker is tasting freedom while another also convicted of using taxpayer resources for political purposes will be released soon.

Philadelphia politician John Perzel, once one of the most powerful figures in state government, was released from prison today after serving time for a corruption conviction.

Perzel, 64, was released from the state correctional facility at Laurel Highlands this morning.  He served a little less than two years for his guilty plea in a scheme to use taxpayer dollars to develop campaign software and databases.

Meanwhile, Sherry Tate, spokeswoman for the state Board of Probation and Parole, says another former House speaker, William DeWeese, will also be free soon.

“Mr. DeWeese has been granted parole by the parole board. His minimum sentence date is March 28th of this year,” Tate tells KYW Newsradio.

Perzel, a Republican, and DeWeese, a Democrat, were among more than two dozen legislators, former legislators, and staffers convicted in corruption probes by the state attorney general’s office.

Perzel, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, conflict of interest and theft, also was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution. He’ll remain on parole, subject to special restrictions and monitoring, through April 2017.