Corruption trial begins for ex-Pa. House leader 

A prosecutor says a Pennsylvania lawmaker who served in the Democratic leadership for many years is a "common thief" who defrauded the public by using taxpayer money to wage election campaigns.

In Monday's opening statements, an attorney for the state painted Rep. Bill DeWeese as a corrupt politician. DeWeese's own lawyer says he was merely too trusting of subordinates who worked on his behalf.

The 61-year-old Greene County Democrat is the first sitting lawmaker to stand trial as part of corruption investigation launched by the state attorney general's office in 2007.

Twenty defendants connected to the House Democratic and Republican caucuses have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the probe.

DeWeese has served in several prominent leadership roles, including House speaker.

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