HARRISBURG – Brett Feese, a one-time local prosecutor who became a rising Republican star in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was sentenced Friday to four to 12 years in state prison and fined $25,000 for his role in a state corruption scandal.
Dauphin County Court Judge Richard Lewis also ordered the former Lycoming County lawmaker to pay $1 million in restitution and serve two years of probation.
Feese, 57, was among 25 people connected to the House GOP and Democratic caucuses who were arrested after a five-year investigation of the legislature by the state Attorney General’s Office.
A Dauphin County jury convicted Feese of all 40 counts in a case that involved the misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars by hiring out-of-state consultants and diverting legislative employees to develop customized computer software to help elect more Republicans to the legislature.
The judge stated that he was impressed by Feese’s involvement in charitable causes and the many people who attested to his good character, but that the actions for which he was convicted constituted “a flagrant violation of public trust.”
While Feese was not an architect of the scheme, “arguably he should have known better,” Lewis said.
Jill Seaman, Feese’s codefendant and former legislative aide, was convicted on identical charges of theft, conspiracy, conflict of interest, hindering apprehension, and obstruction. Feese was released after the hearing. The judge ordered him to report on Feb. 28 to start serving his prison term.
Feese, who served six terms representing his House district in north-central Pennsylvania, and Seaman were convicted in November after a six-week trial.
They were the only Republicans to stand trial among the 25 people who have been arrested since the state Attorney General’s Office began investigating the legislature in early 2007, while Republican Gov. Corbett was attorney general.
Feese is a former Lycoming County district attorney who was elected to the House in 1994.
His political fortunes soared in 2002, after then-House Speaker John M. Perzel tapped him as chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee, the political arm of the caucus.
Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican who prosecutors state was the ringleader of the scheme, was one of seven GOP defendants who pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
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Submited at Saturday, February 11th, 2012 at 10:00 am on Politics by jessica
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