Former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper brings on new attorney

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Nearly two weeks after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper has hired a new attorney to represent him as his deadline to appeal draws close.

Harper, 61, of Stanton Heights, has retained attorney Milton Raiford, according to a one-page notice on the U.S. District Court docket today.

Mr. Raiford said that he will file, tomorrow, a motion asking U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon to reconsider the sentence.

"I think it was out of line and unexpected," Mr. Raiford said of the sentence. "Between his repentance and his contriteness, when you look at his culpability in this matter, I think it's disproportionate."

Mr. Raiford, who said he has known Harper for decades, also noted that the former chief "met with the federal prosecutor 10 times, and he got no benefit from that."

Harper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program and four counts of failure to file tax returns. He has not yet been assigned to a federal penitentiary.

Mr. Raiford has also faced legal trouble, pleading guilty in the 1990s to three misdemeanor offenses after he had an imposter stand in for a defendant in a drug case. After a period of disbarment, he was reinstated as an attorney in 2010.

"I believe that the glory of justice is a life redeemed and its foundation is repentance," Mr. Raiford said.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published March 10, 2014 4:49 PM


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