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Citizens Opposed to the Retrial of Cyril Wecht

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April 16, 2008 The Honorable Michael Mukasey United States Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 The Honorable Mary Beth Buchanan United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania U.S. Post Office & Courthouse, Suite 400 Seventh Avenue and Grant Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Re: The Re-Trial of Dr. Cyril H. Wecht Dear Attorney General Mukasey and U.S. Attorney Buchanan: We, the undersigned citizens of the Western District of Pennsylvania, ask that you reconsider the publicly announced decision to re-try Dr. Cyril Wecht following the declaration of a mistrial as a result of a deadlocked jury - a deadlocked jury whose majority voted to acquit Dr. Wecht. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 9, 2008, Headline) Dr. Wecht and his family have endured a great deal. A second trial of this man would certainly not be in the interest of justice. The Department of Justice investigated Dr. Wecht for over three years, bringing to bear all of the resources of the federal government - the power of the grand jury, the FBI, as many as three Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and perhaps other undisclosed resources. After such a focused effort by the federal government, Dr. Wecht was indicted on 84 counts and eventually tried on 41 of these counts to a group of 12 citizens of Western Pennsylvania. Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Western District of Pennsylvania conducted that trial over seven weeks, calling 44 witnesses and introducing over 10,000 pages of documents. Dr. Wecht did not put on a defense other than through the cross-examination of government witnesses. The jury of his peers, representing the numerous counties of the federal district of the Western District of Pennsylvania, deliberated for 53 hours in what we believe to have been a conscientious and responsible effort and announced to all of us that they were not convinced that Dr. Wecht was guilty of even one of these counts. The jury system has spoken. A system of a jury judging all of us as citizens is the bedrock of our justice system. Your office amassed documents, witnesses and the law. A jury evaluated that with which they were provided and passed judgment. Justice requires in this case that their judgment be honored. The Department of Justice\'s investigation effectively removed Dr. Wecht from public office. He is 77 years old and has done untold good works for our local community, and other communities at large, and worldwide activities that have brought great credit to Allegheny County. He has assisted in countless homicide investigations and prosecutions. Now, in the twilight of his career, he is dedicating his time and his resources to passing on those accumulated skills to generations following in his profession through programs at Carlow University, The Wecht Institute at Duquesne University School of Law, and elsewhere throughout the country. Our views are shared by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editors. Noting that while they are "no great fans of Cyril Wecht," they state that a re-trial, ". . . would be a travesty, not to mention a waste of public dollars." Moreover, the editors correctly note that a second prosecution ". . . will be seen as a persecution. . . that will tarnish the integrity of the U.S. Attorney\'s Office. . . ." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 9, 2008) The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editors also weighed in on April 10, 2008, and came to the same conclusion. Noting the Department of Justice\'s right to re-try Dr. Wecht, but stating, ". . . in this case, the feds would be damn fools to do so." The article went on to note that the allegations against Dr. Wecht do not rise to a federal crime. The editors further state that ". . . the greater crime may be a second prosecution that smacks of government persecution." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 10, 2008) You brought your case to the people. The people have spoken. You have discharged your duty. Do not now summarily dismiss the findings of this jury, but rather dismiss the indictment. Respectfully submitted, Edward Abes Treasurer, Allegheny County Democratic Party James Burn, Chair, Allegheny County Democratic Party Nicolas Cafardi Dean Emeritus and Professor of Duquesne University School of Law Joan Cleary Allegheny County Council Ronald Davenport, Sr. Chairman, Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation John P. DeFazio Allegheny County Council James R. Ellenbogen Allegheny County Council Patrick Fagan Executive Secretary, Allegheny County Labor Council Michael J. Finnerty Allegheny County Council Richard Fitzgerald Chairman, Allegheny County Council Dan B. Frankel Pennsylvania State Representative, 23rd District Nicholas W. Futules Allegheny County Council Amanda Green Allegheny County Council William Green Senior Partner, William J. Green & Associates Kenneth C. Greiner Business Manager, SheetMetal Workers International Association, Local Union 12 Donald J. Guter Dean, Duquesne University School of Law Melissa Hart, Esquire Former Member United States Congress Heather Heidelbaugh, Esquire Elsie Hillman Former Chair of Republican Party of Allegheny County Billy Jackson Filmmaker Jerry Johnson, Esquire U.S. Attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania (1981-1989) Louis Kendrick Former Pittsburgh City Councilman Bob Macey Allegheny County Council John McIntire WQED-TV commentator Tom Murphy Mayor, City of Pittsburgh (1994-2005) Ralph R. Reiland Associate Professor of Economics Robert Morris University William Russell Robinson Allegheny County Council Jim Roddey Chair, Republican Party of Allegheny County and Former Allegheny County Executive Evans Rose, Esquire Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. Celeste Taylor Co-Chair, Black Political Empowerment Program James Treher Retired FBI Special Agent Sala Udin Former Member Pittsburgh City Council *Affiliations are listed solely for identification purposes


Citizens of the Western District of Pennslyvania
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