Feds say they will retry Wecht on all 41 counts
Share with others:
The U.S. government today declared it will retry Dr. Cyril H. Wecht on all 41 counts that resulted in a hung jury during the first trial.
U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab declared a mistrial Tuesday after jurors wrangled with the case for 10 days over the course of several weeks. On the morning of the 11th day, the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.
Prosecutors immediately told the judge they wanted to retry the case, and trial was set for May 27.
Today's one-paragraph filing by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen S. Stallings and James R. Wilson said "the government intends to proceed to trial on all 41 counts of the indictment."
Dr. Wecht, 77, is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and theft from an organization receiving federal funds. Prosecutors have accused him of using his office while he was Allegheny County coroner to enrich himself. They also allege that he bilked private clients.
The original indictment against Dr. Wecht was pared down from 84 counts. It was debated in the days since the jury deadlocked whether the government would try to streamline its case against the forensic pathologist for a second trial. Prosecutors called 44 witnesses during 22 days of testimony, while the defense rested without calling a single witness.
"We had hoped that (U.S. Attorney Mary Beth) Buchanan would re-evaluate the hasty decision to subject Dr. Wecht to the ordeal of another trial in light of the information which has come to light indicating that a majority of the jury wanted to acquit on all charges, the virtually unanimous public sentiment against subjecting Dr. Wecht to another trial, and the fundamental unfairness of doing so at this point in his life when they could not obtain a single conviction on any of the 41 charges made against him," said defense attorney Jerry McDevitt.
First Published April 11, 2008 1:52 pm