PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he knows right where the FBI investigation is going, very simply, it’s getting personal.
“It’s certainly, from what I’ve read and what I know, gotten pretty detailed,” said Mayor Ravenstahl. “It has in many cases, crossed the line into the personal life, perhaps there’s a lot of interest there. I’m not sure what that has to do with any sort of wrongdoing.”
Experienced former prosecutors say it has everything to do with federal law, called Title 18, Section 666.
It allows prosecutors to go after public officials for theft if it exceeds $5,000 in a year, and the municipality receives more than $10,000 a year or more in federal funding.
Former federal prosecutor Mark Rush, who defended Dr. Cyril Wecht, says this can be about services stolen.
“Can other items if you will, non-material items be aggregated to constitute theft in excess of $5,000, and I think that’s what Mr. Hickton and his folks are considering right now,” said Rush. “Whether bodyguard usage, vehicle usage for non-city events would constitute improper taking of the time of that bodyguard and perhaps the improper usage of that vehicle.”
The mayor calls the assertions he broke the law absurd. He says he can prove he was ordered to take bodyguards everywhere.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “Do you hate being portrayed as a criminal?”
Mayor Ravenstahl: “I don’t know that I’m being portrayed as a criminal. People can make their own decisions. I can tell you the process is a bit frustrating and you can’t defend yourself and be specific. But that’s the hand we’re dealt and that’s the hand that we’ll play.”
Without any knowledge of whether or not he will be indicted, the mayor plans to hire at least one more lawyer. He’s gathering documents and information regarding a possible criminal defense.