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Beaver County sheriff has bond terms changed

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A judge Wednesday said Beaver County Sheriff George David can't hold news conferences on county property, but he's permitted to hunt on his property, or elsewhere with permission, while he awaits trial on charges that he threatened a reporter and campaign volunteer and intimidated other witnesses.

David, 66, of Hopewell, voluntarily reduced the time he works at the courthouse following the state attorney general's May 20 motion to revoke or change David's $50,000 unsecured bond, a move that could have sent him to jail.

Prosecutors accused David of violating the conditions of his bond but refused to describe the violations after a private meeting with his defense attorney Wednesday.

David “held unofficial press conferences in his office, appeared in casual dress at the courthouse at non-official functions, ostracized the two cooperating deputies and referenced one of the alleged victims in a public meeting,” according to a news release from the state Attorney General's Office.

Conditions of his bond, set in March, included that he could be in the courthouse only for official business, couldn't carry a gun and couldn't contact witnesses or alleged victims.

State police said David threatened John Paul Vranesevich, the operator of the Beaver Countian news website, with his service revolver during an interview on April 16, 2012.

Police said David kept two deputies “from truthfully reporting David's wrongdoing” to them and to a state investigating grand jury. He also is accused on Nov. 5, 2011, of threatening to cut off and eat the hands of campaign worker Daniel Fleishman.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Laurel Brandstetter declined to comment. She and defense attorney Lee Rothman met privately with Mercer County Senior Judge Francis J. Fornelli for nearly 45 minutes before Fornelli modified the bond. David and state police, who filed the charges, weren't in the meeting.

Since the May 20 motion, according to the news release and Rothman, David spends about four hours a day at the courthouse and sends Chief Deputy Jay Alstadt to represent him at official functions.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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