Trial for Westmoreland County sheriff rescheduled for December |

Trial for Westmoreland County sheriff rescheduled for December

Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held arrives at the Greensburg office of District Judge Chris Flanigan on Feb. 26, 2018. Held is accused of ordering his staff to campaign for him while on duty.

The public corruption trial for Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held has been pushed back several months.

Senior visiting Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy Creany on Thursday formally delayed the sheriff’s trial that had been set to start this month and rescheduled it to begin Dec. 3.

Held, 44, of Hempfield, was charged in February with two counts of theft and one offense of conflict of interest involving allegations that the two-term Republican sheriff forced deputies and staffers to perform campaign chores while on duty dating back to 2014. Held has denied the allegations.

Pam Neiderhiser, the county’s deputy court administrator, said Held’s defense attorney late last month submitted pretrial motions directly with the judge at his Cambria County office. Those motions as of Thursday afternoon had not been sent to Westmoreland County and placed in the court docket.

The state Supreme Court appointed Creany to preside over Held’s case after Westmoreland County criminal court judges recused themselves from hearing the case.

Defense lawyer Ryan Tutera did not return calls seeking comment about the sheriff’s pretrial motions.

Tutera has previously claimed the allegations against Held were concocted by disgruntled former and current employees. The defense has also challenged prosecutor’s contention that the theft allegations against Held should be graded as felony offenses, meaning they involved the thefts of more than $2,000 through the use of county equipment and personnel expenses.

A hearing set for Friday to hear pretrial motions was postponed. Pretrial hearings now will be held Sept. 25.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.