PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) – An Ohio prosecutor who has light-heartedly filed charges against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog who fraudulently “predicted” an early spring says he may consider a pardon now that the animal’s handler is taking the blame.

That’s right, Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle says the animal rightly predicted six more weeks of winter but Deeley tells The Associated Press he mistakenly announced an early spring because he failed to correctly interpret Phil’s “groundhog-ese.”

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Butler County, Ohio prosecutor, Mike Gmoser (MOH’-ser) tells the AP he’s reconsidering the charges in light of the new evidence and may issue a full pardon.

Gmoser’s indictment reads:

On or about February 02,2013, at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early. Contrary to the Groundhog day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future, which constitutes the offense of MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING, a Unclassified Felony, and against the peace and dignity of the State Of Ohio.

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SPECIFICATION: The people further find and specify that due to the aggravating circumstances and misrepresentation to the people that the death penalty be implemented to the defendant, Punxsutawney Phil

Deeley says the prosecutor’s indictment of Phil has generated more publicity than a $10,000 ad campaign.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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