PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The fate of Pennsylvania Representative Bill DeWeese is now in the hands of a jury of seven women and five men.
Deliberations began at 10:20 a.m. Thursday on four charges of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest – charges brought by then Attorney General Tom Corbett against the senior Democratic official in the state House of Representatives.
Corbett charged DeWeese with using legislative staff for campaign purposes, essentially stealing $125,000 by using public resources for politics.
DeWeese contended that he insisted staff use leave time like unused vacation days and comp time when they campaigned for him during office hours.
On Wednesday, the Greene County Democrat became the first sitting lawmaker to take the stand in his own defense.
DeWeese told jurors he never ordered anyone to work on state time, a claim his lawyer William Costopoulos reiterated.
DeWeese acknowledged that the practice of staff doing campaign work is common and decades old.
Twice this afternoon the jury has asked the judge for information; first for written definitions of the charges and then for the definition of conspirator and accomplice.
The jury also asked for the leave slips that DeWeese’s staff submitted when they left the office.
The judge denied one request – a copy of DeWeese’s grand jury testimony.
Unless the jury acquits DeWeese of all four counts, DeWeese could lose his job in the state House and his pension.