Prominent pathologist goes on trial

Jan. 28, 2008 at 1:57 PM

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- One of the nation's foremost forensic pathologists is on trial in federal court in Pittsburgh on 41 charges that could put him in jail for the rest of his life.

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, who resigned as Allegheny County medical examiner after being indicted, is accused of using his office to benefit his private forensic pathology business, The New York Times reported Monday.

Counts in the indictment against Wecht include mail fraud, wire fraud and theft of honest services with the most serious ones carrying prison terms of up to 20 years per count.

The newspaper says the most notorious charge against Wecht involves accusations he traded unclaimed cadavers to Carlow College in Pittsburgh in exchange for space to conduct his private autopsies.

Wecht, 76, has pleaded innocent to all the charges.

Last fall one of Wecht's lawyers told Congress he thought the case against his client was politically motivated.

Wecht rose to prominence in the 1970s for opposing the single-bullet theory in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was also involved in investigating the deaths of Roberet f. Kennedy, Sharon Tate, Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey and Anna Nicole Smith, among many other

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