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Judge won't dismiss charges against Wecht

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By The The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A federal judge Tuesday declined to dismiss public corruption charges against Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and bar prosecutors from retrying the former Allegheny County coroner on double-jeopardy grounds.

U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab said Wecht's motion for dismissal had "no factual basis or any legal authority."

Wecht's lawyers had argued Schwab improperly declared a mistrial April 8 after jurors announced they were deadlocked and, therefore, that the charges should be dismissed. The Constitution's "double-jeopardy" clause -- which prohibits the government from trying someone twice for the same crime -- does not apply to mistrials, Schwab noted in a 21-page order.

Wecht's lawyers are expected to appeal.

Wecht, 77, of Squirrel Hill is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He faces 41 counts of fraud and theft.



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