Former NETL director pleads not guilty to obstruction charge
The former head of a federal energy lab pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to obstructing a Department of Energy investigation into the misuse of his office.
Other than to answer U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy's questions, Anthony Cugini, 54, of Upper St. Clair didn't talk during his brief arraignment. His attorney, Jerry Johnson, said afterward that he can't discuss the original Energy Department investigation.
An Energy Department investigator who attended the hearing declined to comment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Dillon said during the hearing that Cugini destroyed and hid evidence, lied to investigators and had others destroy and hide evidence and lie to investigators. He didn't provide any details on how the agency believes Cugini misused his office.
Court documents show that the government turned over evidence concerning Cugini's dealings with Holy Family Institute in Emsworth. Sister Linda Yankoski, the charity's CEO, could not be reached for comment.
The indictment says Cugini tried to thwart the investigation between Sept. 4 and Sept. 24. He could be sentenced to as many as five years in prison if convicted.
Cugini was director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, which is based in South Park and has research sites in Morgantown, W.Va.; Sugar Land, Texas; Albany, Ore.; and Anchorage.
Johnson said his client and the government haven't discussed a plea bargain, but he doesn't think Cugini will face additional charges as a result of the agency investigation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.
Cugini, who is free on a personal recognizance bond, is working at a relative's business, Johnson said.
“He's a strong person going through a difficult time,” Johnson said.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison shines again as Pirates clip Reds, 2-1
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- NFL notebook: Seahawks part ways with Jeannette’s Pryor
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Pirates notebook: Lambo called up to replace ailing Snider
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- Tall ship makes return voyage to Presque Isle
- Putin calls for exit corridor for Ukrainian troops trapped in southeast
- Pitt’s obscure opener still matters
- Consumer spending dips 0.1% in July as auto sales pull back
- Artists’ bike racks grace Cultural District