Former Allegheny County Councilman seeks delay in theft case

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A former Allegheny County councilman and his sister appeared in Common Pleas Court this morning and again asked for a delay in the theft case against them while they petition the state Supreme Court to hear their appeal.

Charles and Kathleen McCullough are accused of taking money from Shirley Jordan, an elderly widow, when Mr. McCullough served as her power of attorney more than seven years ago. Kathleen McCullough was hired to serve as a companion to Jordan.

They are accused of taking more than $200,000 from her.

The case against them has been delayed repeatedly since charges were filed in 2009.

Last week, the state Superior Court rejected an appeal in which the defense argued that the criminal division of the court system had no authority to hear the case and remanded it back to Judge Donald E. Machen.

But this morning, Jon Pushinsky, who represents Charles McCullough, said he will ask the state Supreme Court to allow him to take an appeal.

Scott Coffey, who represents Kathleen McCullough, has already filed that petition.

Still, Ms. McCullough this morning told Judge Machen she no longer wanted Mr. Coffey to represent her because, she said, he doesn't believe in her.

"He thinks so little of me, he would file an appeal without allowing me to review it," she said.

She indicated she may want to represent herself at trial or find a new attorney, although Ms. McCullough has said she has had difficulty finding someone willing to take her case.

"At this point, I feel like I'm a leper," she said. "Every lawyer I have is intimidated by the district attorney's office."

Ms. McCullough also asked Judge Machen if he would sever the case with her brother so they could be tried separately.

Deputy District Attorney Lawrence Claus objected to both a severance and any delay in the case.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.

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