Sheriff Held’s lawyer wants forensic info on computers taken during office raid
The lawyer for embattled Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held wants state prosecutors to immediately turn over results of forensic tests on computers confiscated during a courthouse raid in March.
State agents searched Held’s office about a month after the two-term Republican was charged with three criminal counts in connection with allegations that he directed his staff to perform campaign activities while on the job.
“At this time, the defendant has not received anything from the commonwealth relative to the forensic examination of said computers,” according to court documents filed by defense attorney Ryan Tutera.
Held, 44, of Hempfield, was charged with conflict of interest and two counts of theft. Investigators said Held directed uniformed and on-duty staffers to participate in fundraising activities for the sheriff’s re-election campaign.
The sheriff has maintained his innocence and suggested that the allegations were raised by disgruntled staffers in his office.
During a hearing last month, senior visiting Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy Creany scheduled Held’s trial to begin Aug. 6.
Since that hearing, Held’s defense has sought an extension of time to prepare pretrial motions as well as requests for information from prosecutors about the case against the sheriff. Some of the information requested by the defense includes payroll details involving some of Held’s accusers.
State prosecutors have objected to turning over that information to the defense, saying the sheriff already has access to those records.
The judge has not yet scheduled any hearings to resolve the defense requests.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or [email protected].