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In First Statement Since Release, Veon Goes After Corbett

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Freedom came to former Beaver County PA Rep. Mike Veon at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday when he was paroled from the Laurel Highlands state prison after five years in jail.

It was dubbed Bonusgate, Computergate and just plain campaigning out of the office, but no one paid the price that Veon paid.

Of the 22 state officials and aides charged by the attorney general who were convicted or pleaded guilty, none served in jail as long as Veon.

Former House Speakers Bill DeWeese and John Perzel served less than two years before release, and former state Rep. Brett Feese, who will be the last released later this month, served just over three years.

From the beginning, Veon believed he was the victim of a political persecution by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett, all designed to help Corbett win the governor's office.

It's a charge Veon reiterated in a statement on Friday.

"I still believe as strongly as ever that my conviction and incarceration were the result of an arbitrary, capricious and overtly political prosecution against a prominent Democrat by a politically ambitious Republican who everyone knew wanted to be governor," said Veon.

"Ironically, Tom Corbett used the power and the tools of his own office and staff to get the headlines that helped make him governor."

Veon has not indicated what he will do now.

He still owes $138,000 in restitution, but says he has "an excited optimism about the future."

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