Former Pa. House speaker gets prison

March 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 21 (UPI) -- A former speaker of the Pennsylvania House was ordered Wednesday to report to prison next month to begin a term of at least 30 months.

John Perzel, a Republican from Philadelphia who pleaded guilty to using state resources for campaigns, apologized before he was sentenced, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

"I've embarrassed myself, my friends my family and the people of Pennsylvania," Perzel said. "I disgraced them and I am sorry."

Common Pleas Judge Richard Lewis gave Perzel a sentence of 30 to 60 months. He told the former lawmaker he would have faced more prison time if he had not pleaded guilty and if he was not the caretaker for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis.

Perzel, 62, who is to begin serving his sentence April 11, has been stripped of his pension.

Prosecutors charged 21 people from both parties with abusing state resources.

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