Friends and supporters of former state Rep. Steve Stetler have raised a little more than $160,000 to help him pay his legal bills, according to Tom Wolf.
Wolf was among a group of local business leaders and community activists who in 2010 started a legal defense fund for Stetler. Legal bills are expected to reach several hundred thousand dollars.
Stetler, convicted of felony charges related to public corruption, must go to prison on Oct. 10, Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Todd A. Hoover ordered during a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Wolf said the fund is still accepting donations.
He also said the fund is set up so Stetler has the sole right to use the money as he needs, and fairly broad latitude.
Wolf has been a public supporter of Stetler since charges were filed against the former lawmaker in 2009.
He attended a portion of Stetler's trial earlier this summer.
"It sounds like there are still some issues to be worked through," Wolf said, referring to Stetler's impending appeal. "I'm hoping fairness will prevail."
The background: Stetler, 63, of York, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 to 60 months in prison. Hoover also ordered him to pay $35,000 in fines and nearly $467,000 in restitution.
Defense attorney Joshua Lock said Stetler maintains his innocence and will appeal the conviction.
A jury on June 27 found Stetler guilty of conflict of interest, criminal conspiracy and four separate counts of theft.
He was convicted of misusing public funds and state employees for legislative campaigns while chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee from 2002 to 2006.
At the same time, Stetler also was chairman of the House Democratic Caucus' policy committee.
He became head the state Department of Revenue in November 2008, but resigned from that post in December 2009, just hours before criminal charges against him were announced.
Stetler represented York City and its surrounding area from 1991 to 2006 before stepping down to head the Pennsylvania Economy League. He served at the league until being chosen by former Gov. Ed Rendell to run the state Revenue Department.
During his trial, about three dozen political, business and community leaders testified as character witnesses for Stetler, including former Gov. Ed Rendell and York City Mayor Kim Bracey.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.