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Former Pa. House aide sues over corruption arrest

| Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

HARRISBURG — A former Pennsylvania House Republican legislative aide sued Gov. Tom Corbett and six others on Thursday for what he claims was malicious prosecution during an investigation into misuse of government resources for political campaigns.

John R. Zimmerman says he was unfairly portrayed as a criminal when charges were filed against him in 2009. They were dropped two years later.

Zimmerman alleges he was charged to prevent him from being a witness to help other defendants, to retaliate against him for supporting former House Speaker John Perzel and to balance the number of Republicans and Democrats being prosecuted.

“His name was dragged through the mud,” his lawyer, Devon Jacob, said. “The reality is he was forced to do a perp walk in front of the cameras.”

Corbett was attorney general when the legislative corruption probe began in January 2007, after news broke that lawmakers quietly handed out millions in bonuses to their aides.

Other defendants in Zimmerman's suit are Linda Kelly, whom Corbett nominated to take over as attorney general when he was elected governor, as well as three prosecutors and two investigators who worked on the Zimmerman case.

A spokesman for Corbett declined to comment, as did the investigators. Kelly and prosecutors did not return phone messages. Joe Peters, press secretary for the current attorney general, Kathleen Kane, declined to comment, saying the office may have to defend Corbett.

Zimmerman, who now lives in Hummelstown, was charged in an investigation that focused on how House Republicans used state-paid computer resources to gain an advantage in campaigns.

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