Share This Page

Veon trial to shift to defense today

HARRISBURG --- Defense witnesses are expected to begin testifying today in the corruption trial of former Democratic legislative leader Mike Veon.

Dauphin County Judge Bruce Bratton ruled Tuesday that the trial will proceed on 15 felonies, dismissing defense attorney Dan Raynak's requests for Veon's acquittal.

Prosecutors rested their case against Veon, the former No. 2 leader in the House Democratic Caucus who is accused of misusing $165,000 from a Beaver County nonprofit he founded.

Veon, 55, maintains he did nothing wrong and is innocent. He faces charges of theft, conflict of interest and conspiracy. A jury of six men and six women will decide his fate.

Defense lawyers and prosecutors spent yesterday arguing over the charges and how to proceed.

The state Attorney General's Office accuses Veon of using money for the Beaver Initiative for Growth, or BIG, to pay for an extra legislative office in Midland, an office for the nonprofit in the South Side that he temporarily staffed with a legislative aide and for leveraging a more than $160,000 salary for his brother from a consultant who had contracts with BIG and House Democrats.

Veon is serving a six- to 14-year sentence at a state prison near Somerset. A jury convicted him in 2010 of 13 felonies and a misdemeanor for using public resources for political campaigns and having a conflict of interest as a legislator. He represented a Beaver County district for more than two decades.

Veon secured $10 million in taxpayer money for BIG over a decade. He formed the nonprofit to promote development in the Beaver Valley.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.