Jon Campisi Nov. 9, 2012, 8:50am

William Trickett Smith, Sr., a central Pennsylvania attorney and onetime head of the

Dauphin County Republican Party, has been sentenced to two and-a-half-to-five years in state prison for arson.

Smith, 75, has been ordered to report to prison at the end of the month.

Smith, who was once caught up in the bribery scandal that led to the public suicide of former Pennsylvania Treasurer R. “Budd” Dwyer in the 1980s, was charged by authorities this past May with setting fire to a guest house at his property in an attempt to destroy evidence that related to claims of monetary theft from legal clients.

Smith pleaded guilty to arson, insurance fraud and evidence tampering, the court docket sheet in the case shows.

Smith had already spent time in jail for the prior theft charges.

An out-of-county jurist, Judge Robert J. Eby of Lebanon County, presided over the case.

Court records show that the district attorney had withdrawn two counts of perjury that had originally been lodged against the defendant.

The docket sheet shows that Smith was represented by Harrisburg attorney Bryan Matthew McQuillan.

First Assistant Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg that the jail sentence seemed appropriate given Smith’s age and the fact that nobody was hurt in the guesthouse blaze.

The Patriot-News reported that Smith had served three-and-a-half years in federal prison during the 1980s after being convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and conspiracy charges relating to a $5 million state bid-rigging scandal that involved “Budd” Dwyer, a former state legislator who was serving as Pennsylvania Treasurer at the time.

Dwyer, in a now-infamous moment, took to the airwaves during a news conference Jan. 22, 1987, in which he professed his innocence relating to the scandal.

Dwyer then retrieved an envelope containing a .357 magnum revolver. He put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger in front of a handful of news cameras.

The Patriot-News reported that Smith’s license to practice law was suspended after his federal conviction, but that it was reinstated in the mid 1990s.

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