HARRISBURG - Brian Preski, one-time chief of staff to former state House Speaker John M. Perzel, interrupted his trial in the political corruption case known as "Computergate" this morning to plead guilty to 10 counts.
Among the charges to which Preski entered guilty pleas were two counts of theft and 3 counts of conflict of interest.
His former boss, Perzel, once the most powerful Republican in Philadelphia, previously pleaded guilty in the case.
Two of Preski's codefendants, including former State Rep. Brett Feese of Lycoming, remain on trial.
In the "Computergate" case, prosecutors from the State Attorney General's Office alleged that the Republican caucus led by Perzel used millions of dollars of taxpayers money to buy sophisticated computer programs and equipment that they used for political purposes.
On Tuesday, William Tomaselli, another former Perzel aide, said only months before the legislature's infamous 2005 pay-raise vote, top aides to the Philadelphia Republican were making plans for him to run for governor in 2010.
Tomaselli, testifying under a grant of immunity, said a plan drawn up for Perzel called for the help of a computer-technology vendor whose work for the House Republican caucus is a focus of the criminal trial.
The plan was presented to top staffers at a meeting in Perzel's Philadelphia campaign office a few weeks after the raises were approved in July 2005. But Tomaselli said the powerful voter backlash - even though the raises were repealed a few months later - was obvious in the response to a fund-raising solicitation that Perzel's legislative campaign around that time.
"I think we got more hate mail back than money," said Tomaselli, Perzel's special-projects coordinator for eight years.
Perzel never ran for governor.