As former state House Speaker John Perzel awaits trial next month on corruption charges, three co-defendants were in court last week pleading guilty.
Those entering guilty pleas were Samuel “Buzz” Stokes, Perzel’s brother-in-law and former office aide; Paul Towhey, his former chief of staff; and Don McClintock, a campaign aide.
The three are expected to cooperate in the trials of Perzel and six others and will be sentenced at a later date.
Jury selection is expected to begin Sept. 6 in a Dauphin County courthouse. The trial will likely begin on Sept. 12 in front of Common Pleas Court Judge Richard A. Lewis and last for several months.
Perzel, 61, is charged with using $10 million in public money for campaign purposes.
The former lawmaker was charged in November 2009 following a grand jury investigation.
Perzel has maintained his innocence, contending that state employees performed campaign work on their own time and were paid by his campaign, Friends of John Perzel, not with state funds.
Elected in 1978, Perzel served in House leadership as majority leader from 1995 to 2003, when he became speaker. He held that position through 2006.
Perzel last year lost a re-election bid to Democrat Kevin Boyle.
Perzel, who lives on Brous Avenue in Lexington Park, remains Republican leader of the 64th Ward. A longtime ally, Bob Cummings, was recently elected chairman of the ward. ••