A criminal case that divided the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police was revived Tuesday as former Officer Edmond N. Gaudelli filed a petition seeking a new trial in the dozen-year-old perjury case against him.
Gaudelli, 47, of Banksville, was convicted of perjury at a federal criminal trial in 2002 and sentenced to a year in prison, followed by two years of probation. He twice appealed, once persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to grant him a new sentencing hearing, but ultimately failed to trim his prison term.
A jury found that he perjured himself in a deposition in a lawsuit against the city and then-Chief Robert McNeilly. Gaudelli said in the deposition that he was disciplined for refusing to expunge records of a call to the chief’s house. Chief McNeilly presented evidence that he was in Florida when Gaudelli said the call went out.
Gaudelli’s new attorney, D. Scott Lautner, wrote in his petition that the former officer’s trial counsel was ineffective and that new evidence has emerged, in the form of witnesses, that “would tend to prove his innocence.”
The petition claims that the conviction and prison time caused post-traumatic stress disorder and rendered Gaudelli unable to find employment. It listed 25 paid and volunteer positions for which he has been rejected.
Gaudelli seeks a discovery period, after which a judge could throw out the conviction or order a new trial. He did not rule out a civil suit if the conviction is overturned.
“If he’s not convicted, and the conviction is overturned, then his civil remedy could be enormous,” Mr. Lautner said.
Chief McNeilly, who left Pittsburgh in 2006 and became Elizabeth Township’s top lawman, said the conviction was the result of multiple investigations, including one by the FBI.
“To have the FBI investigate and the U.S. attorney’s office prosecute, I think people realized there had to be considerable evidence,” Chief McNeilly said. Gaudelli, he said, has “just told so many lies for so long, I’m not even sure if he recognizes the truth.”
U.S. District Judge David Cercone ordered the U.S. attorney’s office to respond to Gaudelli’s petition by May 1.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published April 2, 2014 9:47 AM