PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since 1976, State Rep. Bill DeWeese has been elected and re-elected by voters in his southwestern Pennsylvania district 18 times.
But now his future is in the hands of a Dauphin County jury, not the voters.
“I feel like the first day of boot camp in the Marine Corps,” DeWeese told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano. “I was a little apprehensive but I was confident of the outcome.”
DeWeese spoke during the first day of jury selection in his trial for using his legislative office for campaign purposes.
“I am very confident that my presumption of innocence will be maintained, notwithstanding the fact that Corbett has been an absolute political prosecutor.”
From the beginning, DeWeese has said the charges against him were all part of then-Attorney General Corbett’s campaign to win the governor’s office — a political prosecution – as he repeated briefly Wednesday morning.
“Corbett was a politician with a badge. He had a grudge against me, and the grand jury testimony will talk about five consecutive years of trying to get something on me.”
DeWeese says the proof is how aggressively Corbett went after him while seemingly ignoring, says DeWeese, the mounting evidence against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
“The fact that he put 14 people on me alone, between March of 2009 and October 2010, and one on Jerry Sandusky, says it all. This was political.”
Whether the jury buys that this is just politics remains to be seen.
DeWeese’s aide, Sharon Rodavich, changed her plea to guilty and is now expected to testify against DeWeese.
Still DeWeese is confident that a jury will acquit him.
Eleven of 12 jurors were picked today.
The trial gets underway next Monday and could last two weeks.