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Bill DeWeese and John Perzel: Cellmates

Former Speaker Bill DeWeese (left) and cellmate and former Speaker John Perzel (right)

It’s actually happening. According to Capitolwire, former state House Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese – each convicted of corruption – are cellmates in a Camp Hill state prison.

Being non-violent offenders, the pool of possible roommates is more limited. DeWeese had a choice between Perzel, his legislative rival, and Mike Manzo, his former Chief of Staff who testified against him.

Pete DeCoursey has the amazing account:

Once DeWeese arrived, and was not thrilled bunking with Manzo, Perzel told DeWeese he wanted to room with him. DeWeese was enthusiastic but skeptical, telling the most powerful legislative leader of the last 20 years: “John, I don’t think we pick who we room with here.”

Perzel told him not to worry, and that if and when DeWeese came back after an anonymous Superior Court judge briefly freed him, “It’s a done deal.”

When DeWeese came back, it was a done deal, and the two men are apparently making the experience more endurable for each of them.

While Perzel and DeWeese were phone pals even when they ran opposing caucuses, now they have a lot more time to talk.

Another reason might be moments like a recent trip to the prison dining room, where a guard teased DeWeese: “Here comes Sticky Fingers.”

DeWeese roared with laughter, as he tells the story and responded: “I’m Sticky Fingers?”

He pointed at himself: “They accused me of [misusing] $100,000.”

He pointed at Perzel: “They accused him of $10 million! He’s the Sticky Fingers!”

Perzel, guards, other inmates crack up.

DeWeese (D-Greene) was convicted on five counts of theft and criminal conspiracy in February and sentenced to 30 to 60 months in prison. The charges stemmed from his role in Bonusgate, a investigation by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett into $3.8 million in bonuses paid to legislative staffers for doing campaign work.

DeWeese is appealing his conviction.

Perzel (R-Phila) plead guilty to his role as the mastermind of “Computergate,” in which he used taxpayer-funded computer software for campaign purposes. He was sentenced in March to 2 and a half to 5 years.

Former state Senator Jane Orie was sentenced Monday to 2 and a half to 10 years on similar charges.

10 Responses

  1. I did over two years with Bill, from “J” block in Camp Hill to SCI Retreat, nothing got him down. He was always smiling and pleasant to be around. We walked the yard, told jokes, and made up rhymes about the craziness of the DOC. I hope his experiences in the “can” help him lobby to change the way our government runs things. The average tax payer has no idea how poorly the government mismanages the money it collects. The DOC is literally throwing money out the windows. The whole system needs to be revamped and people like Bill need to be the ones to do it. He has seen the situation up close and knows what needs to be done. SUPPORT Bill DeWeese!!!!

  2. “Asher’s lackey”….. well we know what happened to another one of Asher’s lackey’s of back about 25 years ago….

  3. If ONLY our culture called for them to do the Honorable thing…..”Fall on their SWORDS!” “what, no sword?” “Here, I have several”…..

  4. Love him or hate him, I get a kick out of Mr. DeWeese’s indomitable spirit. The man doesn’t seem to be letting going to prison get him down; he just seems to look at it as another adventure, even if it isn’t his preferred circumstances. Now whether that is a result of his having convinced himself that it’ll be a short stay before a successful appeal or if he’s truly got that untouchable internal fire remains to be seen.

  5. File this under ONLY IN AMERICA!

    However I do find the allegation that Percel told DeWeese that the mutual rooming was a done deal in advance a bit disturbing.
    Do hte officials at the prison believe they still have authority over the budget process?

  6. How did Mr Fix-it fix it that they are now roomies
    Speakers of the Big House still have juice I guess

  7. Perzel can tell DeWeese how he was convinced by Asher that if he just supported Corbett for AG, everything would be great. Then the three of them can swap jail stories while Corbett goes about dismantling PA, a man completely unequipped for the job he holds except for the most critical component: he’s Asher’s lackey.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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