The allegations that the GOP defendants illegally spent millions of taxpayer dollars to influence the outcome of legislative campaigns should silence critics who have accused Corbett of waging a partisan witch hunt since he filed similar charges against people tied to the House Democratic caucus 16 months ago.
Corbett, a Republican, is seeking his party's nomination in next year's election.
"It blows that argument out of the water," said Christopher Borick, a professor and pollster at Muhlenberg College in Allentown who asserts that the 456-count grand jury presentment Corbett announced Thursday "gives him bona-fides as a reformer."
The defendants were fingerprinted and photographed at a police department just outside Harrisburg on Friday, and brought before a district judge for preliminary arraignments and bail hearings. All 10 pleaded not guilty.
Linglestown District Judge William Wenner set bail at $100,000 for the three defendants facing the most counts: Philadelphia state Rep. John Perzel, a former speaker of the House; Brett Feese, a former state representative from the Williamsport area who resigned earlier this month as the House GOP's top lawyer; and Brian Preski, a Philadelphia lawyer who is Perzel's former chief of staff.
The others were given lesser amounts, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, of unsecured bail. They were ordered to relinquish any passports and agree not to talk to anyone mentioned in the 188-page grand jury report that had been issued Thursday.
A preliminary hearing to see if there is enough evidence for a full trial will probably take place in January or February, lawyers said. Trials for people connected to the House Democratic caucus who were charged in a parallel case are expected to occur in December and January.
Associated Press writer Mark Scolforo contributed to this report.