Pathologist Cyril Wecht 's Trial Begins in Pittsburgh

Famed pathologist Cyril Wecht goes on trial today in federal court in Pittsburgh on charges he illegally profited from his tenure as coroner. The charges are mail and wire fraud and theft of honest services.

In a case Congressional Democrats say is a politically motivated prosecution by a Republican administration, Dr. Wecht, a Democrat, is in federal court here facing 41 criminal counts.

....The upshot of the government’s case is that Dr. Wecht, who was the Allegheny County medical examiner until he resigned after his indictment in January 2006, used his office to benefit himself. The accusations include using county equipment, vehicles and employees in his private forensic pathology business.

In the most notorious charge, Dr. Wecht is accused of trading unclaimed cadavers to Carlow College in Pittsburgh for use of space to conduct his private autopsies.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has complete details of the case.

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    I Miss (none / 0) (#1)
    by BDB on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:57:39 AM EST
    the days when claims of political prosecution were usually the last gasp of the desperate (I'm not saying political prosecutions never occurred, just that often times crooked politicians with no other defense cried persecution).  Now, it's impossible to dismiss these claims to easily.  And with this we see the totality of damage the Bush administration has done to DOJ - not only  has it resulted in questionable prosecutions, but it will taint every prosecution of any political figure, no matter how guilty.  That's got to be incredibly frustrating to the career prosecutors and agents who are trying to do their jobs the right way.  And it isn't going to end with the exit of Bush, sadly.

    I don't know about this case, maybe it is political, certainly during this administration that's an increased possibility.  But it's disturbing that to me that it's possible and that I automatically doubt the DOJ's motives.  Normally I cheer when some crooked politician goes down because, honestly, they are more privileged and do more damage than a lot of regular folks who go to jail for a lot less.

    Sounds to me like the DA's office (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 11:11:06 AM EST
    and state AG's office didn't pursue this, leaving the federal prosecutor to do the job.

    "politically motivated" (none / 0) (#3)
    by diogenes on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:14:06 PM EST
    If he's on trial, then a grand jury or judge indicted him.  That's not the prosecutor's fault.  If he's convicted, then that is because the finder of fact (judge or jury) found him guilty.  Maybe the local DA and state attorney general DIDN'T bring the prosecution because THEY'RE politically motivated.