DeWeese challenged

Democrats ask court to take him off ballot.

Posted: August 09, 2012

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Democratic Party told a state judge Wednesday that former House Speaker Bill DeWeese should be removed from the fall ballot so it can replace him with a candidate eligible to serve.

The case before Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley arose after DeWeese, also a longtime Democratic floor leader, was sentenced to state prison on corruption charges in April on the same day that primary voters in his southwestern Pennsylvania district renominated him for another term.

Lawyer Cliff Levine, representing the state party and the three people who sued to remove him, said DeWeese became ineligible after a jury in February found him guilty of five felonies for using state workers and resources to campaign.

The state constitution prohibits those convicted of infamous crimes from holding public office, and Levine noted that DeWeese resigned the day he was sentenced, leaving his seat vacant.

DeWeese's lawyer, Courtney Powell, told McGinley that removing DeWeese would be premature because he is still pursuing appeals.

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