Jury holds Veon's fate in 2nd trial
HARRISBURG -- A Beaver County nonprofit organization "was like a mask Mike Veon was wearing robbing a bank," said a prosecutor seeking to persuade a Dauphin County jury to convict the former state representative in his second corruption trial.
Veon used the Beaver Initiative for Growth "in a very personal way for his own benefit," said Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter. She called him "a thief" during closing arguments on Thursday.
Veon's attorney, Dan Raynak, argued that his client "never took a cent" from the organization.
Convicted or not, Veon, 55, will return to Laurel State Correctional Institution as inmate No. JP4714, according to a state prison spokeswoman. A jury convicted Veon of 13 felonies and a misdemeanor in 2010 for approving an illegal $1.4 million program to award staff bonuses for campaign work, and he's serving six to 14 years.
Yesterday, the jury of six men and six women deliberated about three hours without reaching a verdict. Deliberations will resume this morning, the 10th day of the trial.
Veon, the former House Democratic whip, faces 15 charges of misusing money from the nonprofit he founded in 1992 and for which he obtained $10 million in state grants over the years. Veon formed the nonprofit, known as BIG, to spur development in Beaver County.
Raynak asked the jury not to convict his client based on the "word of a convicted felon beholden to the prosecution," referring to prosecution witness Jeffrey Foreman, an attorney convicted of corruption in another case.
Foreman's testimony is critical to the state's case. His Harrisburg law firm received $4,000 monthly to perform little or no work, Foreman said, as a favor for his loyalty as Veon's chief of staff. Foreman testified that Veon asked him to ensure that the president of a development company in 2004 paid his brother Mark Veon a salary of more than $100,000.
Brandstetter acknowledged Veon did not steal money directly from BIG, but she said he devised schemes to bolster his re-election chances so he could keep his state job and benefits.
Attorney Michael Palermo, who represents co-defendant Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, urged jurors to acquit her of six charges. She worked as Veon's district office director and was a BIG employee.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Pirates find a bridge at end of baseball world in Holdzkom
- Pirates’ 5-game winning streak ends with 1-0 loss to Brewers
- Penguins notebook: Crosby sits, could be out ‘couple days’
- Penguins’ Rutherford hopes to raise Cup again
- Inside the glass: Sutter takes puck to face
- More companies embrace exchanges to curb health care costs
- WVU falls short against OU
- Gas industry remedies ‘brain drain’ in Western Pennsylvania
- Paying tuition a challenge as costs skyrocket and aid varies
- Starkey: Can Steelers’ Mitchell find Carolina cure?
- Hill District leaders irked as Penguins submit former Civic Arena site plan to city