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Detective: Upper St. Clair lawyer got $68,000 from managing widow's trust

| Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

Shortly after taking a $44,000 payment from a widowed millionaire's trust, Charles McCullough paid country club dues and invested thousands in his County Council campaign and money market fund, an Allegheny County detective testified Monday.

McCullough, 54, a county councilman and Upper St. Clair lawyer, got about $68,000 in payments from managing the trust of Shirley Jordan, 92, also of Upper St. Clair, Detective Kevin P. Flanigan of the District Attorney's Office testified during a preliminary hearing in Common Pleas Court.

McCullough is accused of trying to bilk $200,000 from Jordan's estate in 2006 and 2007 before his election to council. He is charged with two dozen counts of theft, conspiracy and filing false reports.

Three days after a 2007 newspaper story showed he donated thousands of dollars of Jordan's money to political candidates, McCullough pulled the $22,000 money market investment and cashed in a certificate of deposit in order to return money to Jordan, Flanigan said. McCullough returned all but $16,000 that he took as trustees fees from Jordan, Flanigan added.

McCullough's attorneys did not have a chance to question Flanigan. Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus tried to introduce Jordan's checkbook as evidence, but Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen postponed the preliminary hearing to give the defense time for review. He did not set a date for the hearing to resume.

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