Rendell Calls Stetler Prosecution a “Mistake”

Stephen Stetler is on trial for his role in Bonusgate.

Taking the stand as a character witness on Monday, former Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell said that defendant Stephen Stetler has a reputation “as good as anyone could ever hope to have,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Rendell was one of nearly three dozen character witnesses to testify on Stetler’s behalf before the presentation of closing arguments Monday afternoon.

Stetler, who is pleading not guilty to four counts of theft and one count each of conspiracy and conflict of interest, was employed as the state revenue secretary under Rendell for almost a year.

Rendell traveled to the Dauphin County courthouse this morning from Philadelphia, telling reporters, “There are very few people I would take a 6:25 train for.” He pointed to the courtroom full of supporters as evidence of Stetler’s honorable character.

According to the York Dispatch, Rendell also told reporters that he feels the prosecution was a mistake. “I’ve never found a person who has a bad thing to say about him,” he said.

The former Governor was recruited to testify by Stetler’s daughter, Catherine Stetler, who ran into him during a book signing in Central Pennsylvania.

Stetler served as a legislator from York County for 16 years. He also chaired the House Democratic Campaign Committee from 2003 to 2006. The 62-year-old is among the last of 25 former legislators and aides who have been charged with misappropriation of taxpayer money in an ongoing investigation in the Bonusgate Scandal.

Other notable character witnesses included state Reps. Phyllis Mundy of Luzerne County and Robert Freeman of Northampton County, as well as York City Mayor Kim Bracey, The York Dispatch reported.

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