Former lawmaker’s conviction stands

HARRISBURG (AP) – The state Superior Court has upheld the corruption conviction of former state Rep. Brett Feese, a onetime Lycoming County prosecutor and legislative leader who is serving a four- to 12-year prison term.

A three-judge panel turned down Feese’s appeal Wednesday, rejecting his argument that state prosecutors engaged in misconduct and deprived him of a fair trial by destroying notes from their interviews with witnesses.

Feese, a Plunketts Creek Township resident, represented the rural parts of Lycoming County in the state legislature from 1994 to 2006.

Two of the judges concluded that the attorney general’s office followed its policy on the destruction of investigatory notes and that any assertion about how the destroyed information might have affected the outcome of Feese’s trial is speculative.

Senior Judge James J. Fitzgerald III dissented on the notes issue, arguing that a hearing should have been held on defense allegations that prosecutors violated their own policy in destroying the notes.

In 2011, Feese was convicted of 40 counts involving the misuse of millions of public dollars by hiring outside consultants and using state employees to develop custom software to help elect GOP legislative candidates.

His sentence was the stiffest among the Republican defendants in a state corruption probe that resulted in charges against 25 people connected to the House Republican and Democratic caucuses.

In addition to his prison term, Feese was fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.

Feese’s time in the state House included stints as majority whip and head of the House Republican Campaign Committee.