GREENSBURG (KDKA) – Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held was back in court on Friday, just weeks after his trial on corruption charges ended in a mistrial.
Held’s attorney filed a motion of acquittal, but after visiting Judge Timothy Creany, of Cambria County, listened patiently to arguments, he said no.
“That motion that he denied is an appealable motion. We have 30 days to decide whether or not we are going to take this up in front of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania,” Held’s defense attorney, Ryan Tutera, said. “If we decide to not appeal the judge’s rulings, then we’ll be ready to go April 1. We’ll be happy to try this case again.”
A motion was also introduced to allow the introduction of new information to a potential retrial jury. Allegations that Held compelled deputies to put his re-election campaign signs along the funeral procession of a fallen police officer Eric Eslary in 2015.
“They said that Jon Held never directed them, it was Chief Deputy Patricia Fritz, that’s what they said to the investigators, and now they’ve come and they’ve changed their story and said Jon Held told them to do it. I find that to be very unbelievable,” said Tutera.
Finally, when asked about allegations that Held’s 14- and 16-year-old boys were involved in an alleged armed robbery in Florida, his attorney spoke on his client’s behalf.
“No comment regarding that,” Tutera said. “These are juveniles, these are minors, their privacy should be respected.”
Held’s retrial on corruption charges begins April 1 with jury selection.