Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner to miss budget hearing because of Detroit trial
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner won’t be among the elected county officials Thursday presenting their office’s 2020 budgets to members of county council.
Instead, Wagner will be in Detroit, where jury selection in her trial is expected to resume Thursday on charges stemming from a March 6 run-in with police and hotel staff.
“I’m of course not physically capable of being in two places 285 miles apart at once,” Wagner said in a text message Wednesday.
Wagner said she has managed her office so she can take the day off and attend the trial.
Wagner’s absence will mean she won’t be able to answer questions about the budget herself, said Councilman Sam DeMarco, the Republican at-large member. DeMarco said her absence shouldn’t have an impact on the 2020 county budget process. Most of the details in the 2020 budget have been discussed, and Thursday’s hearing is more of a presentation, DeMarco said.
Other members of her staff will be present to answer questions, Wagner said. The proposed 2020 budget for the Controller’s Office is $7.59 million. It is the smallest budget among the offices presenting Thursday.
District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., Sheriff Bill Mullen, Common Pleas President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark and Treasurer John Weinstein are scheduled to appear before council to present budgets for their departments.
Wagner, 42, a Democrat from North Point Breeze, was reelected Nov. 5 to a third term as controller.
Wagner’s Detroit trial is on charges of resisting and obstructing the police, a felony, and disorderly conduct from a confrontation at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
In a July trial, her husband, Khari Mosley, was acquitted of charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace from the incident.
The couple contends the charges against them were filed after the hotel and police received notice they were planning a civil lawsuit. Detroit police Chief James Craig has said the charges are warranted.
Wagner rejected an offer to receive non-reporting probation if she would plead guilty to disturbing the peace because she wants to clear her name, she said Tuesday.
The trial is expected to wrap up early next week.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .