Thursday, December 9, 2010

DA Wants Orie Jury Picked Outside of County

In the criminal trial of State Senator Jane Orie and her sister Janine Orie, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. has filed a motion requesting the case be heard by an out-of-county jury. The DA's office cites a "barrage of pre-trial publicity" and smearing by the defense team as its reason for wanting the jury selected elsewhere. The senator is charged with ten criminal counts including conflict of interest, theft of services and criminal conspiracy. The trail is slated for February. In some instances high profile cases that have garnered intense media coverage are granted a change of venue, but Defense Attorney Bill Costopoulos says "the cases that are moved outside of the county are always, when moved, at the request of the accused--never at the request of the sitting district attorney of the county that he brought the charges in." And Costopoulos says he believes the recent electoral victory by Orie might indicate that the public has a low opinion of the merits of the case. Regarding the DA's claim that the jury pool is tainted, Costopoulos says "I don't believe that for one second. I believe that we can pick twelve jurors out of a million and a half people that would be uninfluenced by anything they may have seen, read or heard in the public sector." Judge Jeffrey Manning has scheduled a hearing on pretrial motions for Monday.

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