Monday, April 23, 2012


A little over three years ago, after Mike Manzo agreed to cooperate with then-Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett, a Reliable Source told us about a curious provision in Manzo's plea agreement. In addition to the requirement that he speak about the alleged crimes of co-workers and colleagues, there was a requirement that he not speak about some alleged crimes of co-workers or colleagues.

The Source had never before heard of such a provision, and the Source was baffled. However, we were not, nor was anyone who witnessed prosecutors' panicked courtroom reaction to Manzo's October 2007 implication of his former boss, H. William DeWeese, in the bonus-for-campaign-work scheme.

Manzo's admission that DeWeese was involved in the scheme - while no surprise to anyone familiar with the structure of a legislative caucus - was big news for a few days. These were the innocent days when most Capitol-watchers believed that the arrest of DeWeese's second-in-command and a crew of staffers (along with an eventually-acquitted Democratic state Senate candidate, on non-bonus-related charges) was a preliminary to the indictment of DeWeese himself in the bonus scheme.

As DeWeese himself will trip over his own tongue to tell anyone and everyone, he never was charged in the bonus scheme, and Manzo never again publicly accused him.

The closest he came was after his sentencing on April 16, when Manzo said he was frustrated with others "who refused to step up to the plate and take responsibility," and acknowledged that he was speaking of DeWeese, among others. He also mocked blaming "the culture" of the Capitol. DeWeese famously blabbed to a grand jury that illegal electioneering was "part of the political culture on Capitol Hill."

Why would DeWeese make such an incriminating statement to a grand jury (which promptly indicted him on his admitted crime?) The answer lies in the prosecutors' panicked reaction to Manzo's testimony about DeWeese. Journalists covering the hearing made no mention of it, but the proceedings slammed to a temporary halt upon Manzo's accusation.

Corbett and his team didn't want Manzo accusing DeWeese in the bonus scheme because they'd already decided not to charge DeWeese in the bonus scheme. And DeWeese mistakenly believed Corbett's decision not to charge him on bonuses was some kind of blanket immunity. The folly of this decision became clearer about five months later, when even more damning evidence of DeWeese's involvement in the bonus scheme came to light. In a pre-trial motion filed a few months after that, Mike Veon's attorneys questioned why Veon was criminally charged and DeWeese was not, when Corbett possessed unequivocal evidence of DeWeese's involvement in the same activities.

Veon's question was dismissed as "finger pointing." And though the question remains officially unanswered (actually, unasked, aside from Veon's lawyers), it's clear that the reason is tied to DeWeese's 2007 negotiation with Corbett to turn over self-selected documents and release staff members to testify against Veon and others.

With DeWeese facing sentencing tomorrow on non-bonus-related charges as we're sure he'll make quite clear, there's still a chance for the public to question this glaring Corbett blunder.


Anonymous said...

DeWeese made CNN national news tonight, which will delight him. Of course the story was essentially about his arrogance, but that really doesn't seem to bother Bill or his minions on Capitol Hill and in Greene County. I wonder if Bill will have a gopher to buy his condoms and serve his small salad in a big bowl when he serves time?

Anonymous said...

fucking lies upon lies upon lies.

Anonymous said...

Funny that HWD had attorneys John Connolly, Bill Chadwick and Walter Cohen testify for him as character witnesses: everyone had state contracts arranged for them by Bill deWeese while he was in power, rannging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Sort of paid mouthpieces, but paid by the public. Their loyalty to him was well earned.

Anonymous said...

Incredible the establishment crowd that signed on to support DeWeese. like Sen. Piccola, former AG Pappert, Steeler's owner Rooney...all of them asking for special consideration, Piccola asking for no prison term. R u kidding? Hope DeWeese told them u r welcome.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to that bucktoothed jackass Jeb Wagner?

Anonymous said...

Hard to stomach that Veon got 6 years, and DeWeese half of that. And Manzo less than DeWeese

Anonymous said...

And he wasn't taken from the courtroom in handcuffs, like Veon.

Anonymous said...

DeWeese Will Be Back!

Anonymous said...

Patsy Ricciuti, of Vestaburg had nothing but high praise for DeWeese.

Ricciuti said he believes the conviction and sentencing was a “miscarriage of justice.”

“Without a doubt, every politician does what Bill was accused of, to some degree,” he said.

“To single out a single person or only a half-dozen people is wrong. Corbett had a vendetta against Bill...what they did to him is a shame.

I wonder what it cost the state for the lengthy investigation, and more importantly, was it worth it?”

Ricciuti, a registered Democrat, said he has supported DeWeese “through thick and thin,” and he believes the longtime representative has efficiently served his district.

“He is a good man,” he said. “Very few people come along that are as intelligent as Bill. “I believe he was too smart for the House.

When he walked into a room, you just knew that he was a good man.

Talk to the majority of people in Greene County, and they will feel the same way. He did a lot for the United Mine Workers and for a lot of other organizations.”

Ricciuti said DeWeese was another strong example of effective political leaders in Greene County. He also expressed concern for the area’s future.

“This district won’t have a representative that had the voice and the leadership that Bill had,” he said. “It’s a shame.”

However, Ricciuti said he feels confident that DeWeese has legitimate grounds to appeal his conviction.

“It’s not over yet,” he said.

Laura Tressler, 31, of Waynesburg echoed Ricciuti’s sentiments, saying that she did not agree with DeWeese’s sentence.

“What he’s been convicted of is common among politicians, and they’re just trying to make an example out of him,” said Tressler, a registered Democrat.

She also agreed that DeWeese has been an effective representative for the 50th District during his long tenure.

“He has done a lot for Greene County,” she said. “This area will suffer because we will lose his power and authority. It will take a long time for someone else to come in and assume that position as effectively as Bill has.

I was proud to vote for him today.”

Anonymous said...

Was wondering two things: First, in the time before he reports to prison on May 14, isn't DeWeese under probation supervision; if so, was he allowed to travel back to Greene County, and did he have to register there with the Greene Co. probation office? Second, that black truck he drove back to Greene Co., that isn't a state leased vehicle, is it?

They should have put a gag order on him, and should make him pay for any needed special election cost to the taxpayer.

Signor Ferrari said...

DeWeese is not under the supervision of the state until May 14. As far as we know, members of the House lease vehicles under their own names and are reimbursed for the cost, up to a certain amount. He is free to drive a car leased under his own name, but as of today, he won't be reimbursed. He'll have to buy his own condoms now, too.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think anybody is listening any more.

fat00boy said...

yes they are ! Some of us still care that there is scum in the governors mansion in Pa.