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Former Pa. speaker pleads guilty to using state resources for use in political campaigns
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) ' The former speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a public corruption probe Wednesday, making him the highest-ranking state politician to admit guilt in a four-and-a-half-year probe.
Ex-Rep. John Perzel entered the plea Wednesday to two counts of conflict of interest, two counts of theft and four counts of conspiracy. He left the courthouse without commenting, but said in an e-mailed statement that he bore responsibility for improprieties in the spending of money he oversaw.
Prosecutors say Perzel was at the center of a scheme to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on computer technology for the benefit of GOP political campaigns.
"It was up to me to see that taxpayer funds were spent only for the betterment of the people of Pennsylvania, and not for my political benefit of that of my party," Perzel said in the statement.
He apologized to the people of Pennsylvania, his family and friends, saying he wanted to "express my profound regret for my actions. You had a right to expect better from me, and I am sorry that I let you down."
In his appearance before a Dauphin County judge, he also agreed to cooperate with state prosecutors.