Ex-state lawmaker Veon granted new trial in corruption case

Former Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Mike Veon walks into Dauphin County District Court in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, May 21, 2009, for a preliminary hearing. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A former high-ranking Democrat in the Pennsylvania House is being given a new trial on allegations he misused a nonprofit for his own benefit in a ruling that called the conviction a “criminalization of politics.”

The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a county judge erred when he told jurors hearing the case against former Rep. Mike Veon that Veon didn’t have to gain financially to be convicted of violating the conflict-of-interest law.

The court also says it was a mistake to order Veon to pay restitution to state government. Veon served five years after being convicted in that case and in a separate trial.

Veon lawyer Joel Sansone calls it “a total and complete vindication.” A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office says the decision is being reviewed.

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