Bill DeWeese and John Perzel: Cellmates
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.