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Former County Councilman Convicted Of Theft To Stand Trial For Perjury

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Former Allegheny County Councilman and Solicitor Charles McCullough was back in court today – this time to face charges that he lied.

Initially, he was accused of using his power of attorney to divert $50,000 from an elderly client to, among other things, support political candidates.

Prosecutors say during his theft trial, he either lied when he told the judge that he wasn't pressured to give up his right to a jury, or he lied when he claimed later there was an implied pressure from the judge to give up that right.

The only evidence presented at Monday's preliminary hearing was the transcript of the beginning of his theft trial in April and his motion to get Judge Lester Nauhaus off the case – claiming Nauhaus was biased and claiming the judge had an improper conversation with his former lawyer about a non-jury trial.

The prosecution argued one of the claims had to be a lie.

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In the criminal complaint the prosecutor pointed to the beginning of the theft trial when the judge asked McCullough: " Have there been any promises or threats made to you in order for you to waive your right to a jury trial?"

"No, your honor," replied McCullough.

But in a later filing, McCullough claims comments by the judge "made it abundantly clear to the defendant that Judge Nauhais desired a non-jury trial and was willing to punish either party if this did not occur."

The defense says the prosecution did not prove which of the claims was a lie. But District Judge Robert Ravenstahl concluded: "Something happened here that should not have happened. I'm holding all charges for court."

Neither McCullough of his attorney would comment after the hearing but the charges that he will face in a separate trial include perjury.

He's already facing two and a half to five years in prison for taking money from an elderly client's estate to support political campaigns.

Meantime, Mccullough is scheduled to report to jail on his theft conviction in about two weeks.

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