Letter asks attorney general to end celebrity coroner case

April 17, 2008

For those of you that do not know, Cyril Wecht is a Warren Commission critic and expert on the pathological evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy.

By Joe Mandak, Associated Press Writer | April 17, 2008

PITTSBURGH –Thirty-three prominent Pennsylvanians on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to dismiss a fraud and theft indictment against celebrity pathologist Cyril Wecht.

The letter argues that the case against the 77-year-old coroner is weak as indicated by the declaration of a mistrial on April 8 after jurors failed to reach a verdict following a seven-week trial. A new trial is scheduled for May 27.

Wecht has earned millions investigating deaths, including those of JonBenet Ramsey, Elvis Presley and Vince Foster.

The letter to Mukasey, given to The Associated Press by Wecht’s attorneys, was signed by political leaders, attorneys, a retired FBI agent and some media members. The signees include Wecht’s original defense attorney in the case, J. Alan Johnson, a former U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.

“You brought your case to the people. The people have spoken. You have discharged your duty,” the letter says. “Do not now summarily dismiss the findings of this jury, but rather dismiss the indictment.”

The letter notes that one anonymous juror told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a “majority” of jurors favored acquitting Wecht.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan responded in a written statement that her office will litigate the case in court, not in the media.

Wecht is charged with wire fraud and theft for allegedly misusing his county staff to benefit his private practice and for allegedly trading unclaimed county morgue cadavers for office and lab space at a university where he taught. Wecht is also charged with mail fraud for allegedly overbilling his private clients, including other Pennsylvania prosecutors, for bogus travel expenses.

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