TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Court delays Wecht's 2nd trial

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, May 9, 2008
 

An appeals court on Thursday agreed to delay the start of Dr. Cyril H. Wecht's second federal public corruption trial.

Jury selection was set to begin Monday until a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay to consider whether U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab erred in the way he declared a mistrial. Schwab dismissed the first jury April 8 after they said they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Judges D. Brooks Smith, D. Michael Fisher and Franklin S. Van Antwerpen unanimously agreed to postpone the retrial until they decide the appeal.

Wecht's lawyers contend Schwab improperly dismissed the jury and that a second trial would violate the former Allegheny County coroner's constitutional right not to be tried twice on the same offense.

"We're just grateful the 3rd Circuit has stayed the trial and is going to give consideration to our argument," said defense attorney Jerry McDevitt.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

Wecht, 77, of Squirrel Hill is accused of using his public office for private gain. Jurors in his first trial could not agree on a verdict for any of the 41 counts of fraud and theft.

Prior to Wecht's original trial date in 2006, the 3rd Circuit issued a stay -- which lasted six months -- to consider several issues, including whether to remove Schwab from the case.

The appeals court ruled 2-1 to let Schwab remain on the case.

Schwab yesterday refused to step down from the case for a third time.

Another pending appeal, filed by local news outlets including the Tribune-Review, concerns whether Schwab properly followed an earlier appeals court ruling that he must release jurors' names.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read News