Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mistrial Day Zero: The Wecht Trial Reloaded

Welcome to any readers following my Pittsburgh Channel blogging of the Wecht trial who are new to my personal blog.

The mistrial brought an end to 35 working trial days...ten weeks in court...including 53 hours of deliberations over the course of three of those weeks. There are blog entries listed day by day at this link. The Pittsburgh Channel has video of my WTAE Channel 4 Action News report, as well some raw video of Wecht's defense team.

Here are some quotes from Dr. Cyril Wecht and his attorneys made following the mistrial declaration.

Dr. Cyril Wecht:

• "The toll on my family has been horrendous."
• "We've been living under this cloud for all that time. The emotional drain has been absolutely unbelievable."
• "...the drain emotionally, personally, professionally and financially.."

• "How much I have been hurt, I'm sure that what I know of represents the tip of the iceberg, because most people are not going to call you and say I was going to consult you, but I can't."

• "We are going to continue to do whatever is necessary. I don't say that in a bold fashion with braggadocio. I'm just telling you what has to be done will be done."

• "If I have to spend the rest of my years, then so will it be."

• "We know where we're going and we know what we have to do. And we know where truth lies and we know where justice resides, and I'm sure that we shall reach those objectives."

• "We recognize what the ideology as well as the continuing pathogenesis of this sordid saga is, and there's nothing to be happy or comforted about."

Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, member of the Wecht legal team:

• "A nickle-dime prosecution when there is rampant crime, terrorism, other kinds of threats that affect the American people."

• "These charges clearly were not worthy of being brought in a federal criminal court."

• "The government has utterly failed to prove their case. And it's time in my view for these charges to be dismissed and for Dr. Wecht to be able to get on with his life."

• "The allegations of political influence in this case, about which I testified before the United States Congress -- the judge prohibited any inquiry into that in the course of this case."

Jerry McDevitt, Wecht defense attorney:

• "I thought what happened in that courtroom today was an utter disgrace. On every level, no matter how your measure it, it was one of the most bizarre endings to one of the most unfair trials ever conducted in Pittsburgh history."

• "To announce a retrial of Cyril Wecht this quickly was designed to make sure he would not have one day of respite from what has become a vindictive prosecution. Everybody in Pittsburgh knows it now."

• " 'Get ready for this again, Doctor Wecht.'  That is vindictive, that is mean spirited, and that is against everything United States attorneys in this country are supposed to be about."

• "It's hard to beat people that won't quit. We're not going to quit. Period. They didn't beat us this time. This makes us want to beat them even more the next time."

• "I think a federal judge ought to read the constitution, not cookie recipes.  Period."

• "Plying jurors with cookies and stuff like was done in this case. It's just one of the many, many irregularities that accompanied this trial, but sometimes I felt like I was at Sara Lee's Bakery, rather than a federal courtroom."

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan (written statement):

• "We are committed to eliminating the culture of corruption that prevails when officials at the highest levels abuse the public trust. Allegations of wrongdoing by public officials can be both challenging to investigate and to prove. A deadlocked jury means only that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the charges presented. The government bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, each element of every count charged."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wecht's first trial was laughable. The prosecution and judge were a dog and pony show. The other members of our PA government should be embarassed that this case is moving forward for a second go around. This is a huge waste of our tax dollars. I think there are more important issues happening in our city today...gangs, poverty, gas prices, etc. that need attention. Mary Beth needs to go.