High court denies appeal, won't halt retrial of Wecht
Share with others:
A long-shot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a retrial for former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht was denied yesterday.
The high court decided not to stop a retrial of Dr. Wecht, whose first trial ended in a hung jury in April. By not hearing the case, the Supreme Court let stand the ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which stated Dr. Wecht could be retried. The Supreme Court did not comment on the order.
"They get hundreds of thousands of these," said defense attorney Jerry McDevitt. "We're not surprised that they didn't [hear the case]."
Leo Dillon, chief of the U.S. attorney's criminal division, declined to comment on the Supreme Court order.
Since the lengthy first trial, federal prosecutors have dropped most of the 84 counts against Dr. Wecht. He is charged with 14 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and theft from an organization receiving federal funds.
In allowing the new trial, the 3rd Circuit removed U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab, who had presided over the case since its inception, and installed U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin.
Mr. McDevitt said the Supreme Court order does not derail his plans to petition Judge McLaughlin -- Mr. McDevitt called him "a new set of eyes" -- to dismiss the case.
Mr. McDevitt said he will file a motion tomorrow arguing that "the government failed to prove the counts that are left. And once they failed to prove them, Dr. Wecht was entitled to a judgment of acquittal."
First Published December 2, 2008 12:00 am