HARRISBURG – There is enough evidence for the case against Rep. John M. Perzel (R., Philadelphia) and nine others to proceed to trial, a district judge ruled today.
Judge William Wenner said attorneys from the state Attorney General's Office had met the burden of proof to take the case to trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
He scheduled arraignment for July 8.
Perzel is charged with 82 counts of theft, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and conflict of interest. He is fighting the charges.
Prosecutors say Perzel spent nearly $10 million in taxpayer money to create as many as a dozen computer software programs designed to give him and fellow GOP politicians an upper hand in elections.
The other nine people charged in the case - including former Perzel chief of staff Brian Preski and former Rep. Brett Feese of Lycoming County - all had ties to the House Republican caucus.
Wenner did drop a total of eight counts against two of the defendants in the case, including four against Feese.
The ruling comes as a report from the state grand jury investigating corruption in the Capitol recommends sweeping changes in how the legislature conducts business.
Among other findings, the grand jury said that legislative employees have spent an enormous amount of time doing campaign work on state time. The grand jury said the legislature is stuck in a " 'time warp' of corruption," and recommended cutting legislative staff, instituting term limits for lawmakers, and moving to a part-time legislature.