John Perzel, the embattled, former powerful state Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, plead guilty to eight of 82 counts of corruption, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported. The plea bargain comes ahead of a planned trial this fall.
The corruption charges largely stemmed from accusations that Perzel masterminded the spending of $10 million in taxpayer dollars to deploy a software system to evaluate voter trends meant to keep GOP lawmakers in power. Others in Perzel’s Northeast Philadelphia district office plead guilty last month. The minimum sentence for Perzel is 18 months and the maximum is 24 years, the Tribune Review reported.
From 2007 to 2010, Perzel, a 30-year veteran, lost his speaker role, was indicted and then lost the 172nd legislative district seat to young Democrat Kevin Boyle, who had never won an election before.
[Full Disclosure: This reporter also worked on that NEast Philly report.]