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Defense Attys and Sen. Specter Attack Pitts. U.S. Atty. Buchanan

Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

It’s hard to imagine that Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan will stay on as the top prosecutor under the Obama administration. So far, she’s still there. But how long can she last?

By The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH – Defense lawyers and a U.S. senator are criticizing comments made by Pittsburgh’s U.S. attorney last month as her office dismissed fraud and theft charges against a noted pathologist.

Lawyers for former Allegheny County medical examiner Cyril Wecht are calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to formally rebuke U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, saying she “vindictively … expressed the view that Dr. Wecht was a criminal and was guilty of the charges made against him.”

“We trust you will agree such statements by a United States prosecutor are completely improper, violate all notions of prosecutorial ethics and decency, and warrant remedial action by the Department of Justice,” former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh wrote in a June 16 letter to Holder.

Prosecutors originally indicted Wecht on 84 counts in January 2006, but the case was whittled down before a trial that ended in a hung jury. The charges were then trimmed again until 14 counts remained, but the government’s case was undermined when a judge threw out two search warrants.

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