Fresh off her convincing victory in the 2008 WOPOTY poll, it looks like U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan plans to continue with her prosecution of Pennsylvania medical examiner Cyril Wecht. I had thought the case was still under a stay issued by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Apparently not.
Buchanan now wants to move the trial from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Erie, because, according to her brief, of “too much media attention and an alleged negative slant toward the prosecution in the Pittsburgh area.” God forbid we have a federal trial where the U.S. attorney doesn’t have every conceivable advantage. Of course, that “negative publicity” is well-deserved. The woman sent FBI agents to interview jurors after the first trial, because she didn’t like their verdict. Her actions inspired a letter signed by two dozen public officials in Pennsylvania, from both parties, criticizing Buchanan, and denouncing her decision to retry the case.
Buchanan herself is of master at drumming up pre-trial publicity to build a “negative slant” in the media, priming the jury pool with incriminating information about her suspects. She’s called a number of press conferences to announce her indictments over the last few years, including in the Wecht case, where she called one to announce that the doctor had turned himself in. To now argue that she deserves a different venue simply because the publicity she herself stirred up is backfiring (and not without plenty of justification) takes quite a bit of gall.
Not surprising, just galling.