Pitts. U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan Can’t Avoid Controversy

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh, a Bush appointee who is expected to be replaced by an Obama appointee, can’t seem to avoid controversy. And this time, it may not be her fault.

In the latest incident, the Associated Press reports that the Pittsburgh federal defenders office is alleging that the Allegheny County Jail recorded telephone calls between defense attorneys and their clients and turned over some conversations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jail policy allows for the recording of all outgoing calls except to inmates’ lawyers.

The Associated Press quoted Federal Public Defender Lisa Freeland as being “incensed” and the office has scheduled a meeting with the county’s solicitor’s office.

The news agency said the jail claimed revamping of the phone system may have resulted in the jail inadvertently recording conversations. AP reported that Buchanan said her office never requested any of those conversations, and it didn’t listen to any that it may have gotten.

Buchanan triggered an internal Justice Department probe earlier this year when she publicly stated that a county medical examiner was guilty of crimes even after charges were dropped.


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