Thursday Bonusgate update

Good morning.  The defense’s cross-examination of Mike Manzo begins at 8:45. One member of their legal team told reporters it could last “several days.”  Based on attorney Dan Raynak’s opening statements, where he hammered Manzo and other defendants’ plea deals as motivations for them to “play ball” and deliver incriminating testimony against Mike Veon, today could get interesting. (Raynak also insinuated it was Manzo and DeWeese — not Manzo and Veon — who ran the bonus scheme. That’s not what Manzo said on the stand yesterday. “I worked with Veon five times as much as I worked with DeWeese on a daily basis,” he testified at one point.”)

Here’s a recap of yesterday:

In his second day on the witness stand in a legislative corruption trial, one-time top staffer Mike Manzo painted the picture of a pervasive political culture within the House Democratic Caucus. He said “it was understood” that campaign work was part of the job for publically-financed employees, and detailed efforts to run up staffers’ comp time so they could do field work in contested elections.

The prosecution showed scores of emails to the jury yesterday. The notes, exchanged between Manzo, former Minority Whip Mike Veon and other defendants, dealt with overtly political topics like campaign fundraising, PR efforts and the activities of Republican opponents, says Deputy Attorney General  Marc Costanzo. “They spent a lot of time doing it, and then obviously they were ultimately compensated with taxpayer dollars for the work they were doing on these various campaigns.”

Manzo choked up at one point during his testimony, saying he had idolized Veon, and the western Pennsylvania lawmaker was “one of the reasons I went into politics.”

Here’s what the Post-Gazette and AP had to say about Wednesday’s proceedings.

More details later, and as usual, I’ll be tweeting today’s courtroom action.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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