The first Republicans to be tried in a state corruption trial have been found guilty of 40 criminal charges for their involvement in a state House GOP scheme to illegally spend millions of public dollars on campaign activities.
The Dauphin County Court jury has found former Representative Brett Feese and Jill Seaman, his one-time aide, guilty of using state-owned software to help run political campaigns. In all, the two were convicted on 40 counts for their involvement in the same government corruption scandal that brought down former GOP House Speaker John Perzel. Feese insists he's not guilty.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina called the former lawmaker's defense extraordinary.
"That you're using millions of dollars of the taxpayer's money on campaigns and you don't know it, when you're in charge of the Republican campaigns. Clearly the jury didn't buy that," said Fina.
Feese's attorney said it's likely he'll appeal the ruling, but any appeal will have to wait until after sentencing, scheduled for January. Fina said that there's no telling how long they could serve time in prison.
"It's entirely up to the judge. I mean the maximum on all of them, again off the top of my head, it's in excess of 50 years. That's not going to happen, but it's a very high number," he said.
More than 20 people from the state Capitol have pleaded or been found guilty on charges that came out of a government corruption investigation. Fina said he hopes the message is getting out to state lawmakers that public dollars should not go to pay for campaigns.