Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has agreed to offer deals under which all charges could eventually be dismissed against two of the defendants in her office's high-profile pay-to-play case against former officials of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Onetime turnpike vendors Jeffrey Suzenski and Dennis Miller were offered accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD), under which each would serve two years of probation, according to court records. If they completed probation without a new arrest, the charges would be dropped and their records expunged.
A representative for Kane could not immediately be reached, but a hearing in the matter is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon before Dauphin County Court Judge Richard Lewis.
Miller and Suzenski had been accused of improperly giving turnpike officials lavish gifts in exchange for contracts. Miller is a former vice president of Ciber Inc., a business that landed more than $60 million in contracts with the commission. Suzenski is a onetime consultant for turnpike vendor TransCore.
Mark Sheppard, Miller's attorney, declined to comment Monday. Suzenski's lawyer, Michael Engle, said the agreement was a welcome outcome for his client. He described the deal as "the kind of thing you can't say no to."
The turnpike case is one of the office's biggest public corruption cases. Charges are also pending against former State Sen. Robert J. Mellow, a Democrat from the Scranton area; former turnpike chief executive Joseph Brimmeier; former chief operating officer George Hatalowich; and former Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin.
The case centers on prosecutors' contention that turnpike officials used their posts to pressure contractors into making political contributions as a price of doing business.
But the prosecution has suffered its share of setbacks. In August, the lead prosecutor in the case, Laurel Brandstetter, left the Attorney General's Office. In addition, the office's senior executive deputy attorney general, Linda Dale Hoffa, who was overseeing the case, is also leaving - her last day is Tuesday.
And last week, in an embarrassing mishap, Kane's office was forced to ask defense attorneys in the case to return thousands of pages of documents that it mistakenly turned over as part of the discovery process that precedes trials.
The office belatedly determined that it failed to abide by a state Supreme Court order in the case to strip the material of all information not directly related to the criminal case, including personal e-mails.
The Attorney General's Office, in a court filing, admitted the error: "OAG accepts responsibility for the mistaken release of the hard drives and has taken steps to correct it."
The case is scheduled to go to trial in November.