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April 3, 2013

State in Brief | Doctor withdraws drugs-for-sex plea

INDIANA — A judge has allowed a borough doctor to withdraw his guilty plea to charges that he traded prescription painkillers, money and gifts for “an extended sexual relationship” with a female patient.

The Indiana Gazette reported Wednesday that Indiana County Judge William Martin’s decision means 62-year-old Dr. Tahir Mir  must now stand trial.

The doctor pleaded guilty in October to charges of Medicaid fraud, prescribing drugs in bad faith and conspiracy.

The state attorney general alleges the crimes occurred while Mir operated the Indiana Walk-In Clinic.

Authorities said Mir was allegedly carrying painkillers meant for the woman when he was arrested Oct. 11, 2011, at an apartment where he allegedly arranged to have sex with her.

Pittsburgh mayoral underdog arrested for DUI

PITTSBURGH – A self-described community activist running an underdog campaign for Pittsburgh mayor may be an even longer shot now that he’s been charged with drunken driving.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported the arrest early Wednesday of 36-year-old Abdula Jamal Richardson.

A woman hung up the phone when The Associated Press called a number listed for Richardson on a campaign-related website. An email message came back as undeliverable.

Police said they charged Richardson when they found him slumped over the wheel of a minivan, whose engine was still running, about 3 a.m. Police said in a criminal complaint that he refused a blood test and “became verbally hostile stating that he was going to be mayor repeatedly.”

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Richardson, who faces a Wednesday preliminary hearing.

Alleged prostitute’s lawyer: Cop went too far

HOMESTEAD – The attorney for a woman facing prostitution charges said an undercover detective went too far when he allowed the woman to begin a sex act before arresting her.

Homestead Officer Ronald Depellegrin wrote in his criminal complaint that 36-year-old Diana Gross began the sex act before he arrested her March 22 after answering a personal ad she allegedly placed.

Gross has been ordered to trial on prostitution charges, but her attorney, Michael Waltman, said the officer’s actions are “shocking, outrageous and clearly intolerable” and is threatening to sue.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala previously has said officers who have sex with suspects could be barred from bringing charges, depending on specific circumstances.

Zappala has since determined this prosecution can go forward, but said it’s up to Homestead officials to discipline the officer if they see fit.

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