Trials & Litigation

Defendant Lawyer Calls His Own Attorney Unprepared in Criminal Court Spat and Says He Prays for Him

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A Pennsylvania lawyer charged with stealing nearly $200,000 from an elderly widow is looking for a new attorney after a criminal courtroom spat yesterday in which he publicly called his own attorney unprepared and not up to the job of defending him.

The contentious hearing in front of Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen resulted in a postponement of the pending theft trial for the defendant lawyer, Charles P. McCullough, 56, so he could look for a new defense attorney, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Post-Gazette.

McCullough said afterward that he considers his now-former defense lawyer, Patrick Thomassey, a friend and has been praying for him.

This is the eighth time a scheduled trial has been postponed, the newspapers note, and since the investigation began both the widow and a guardian ad litem who would have testified have died.

Thomassey, who withdrew from the case yesterday with the court’s permission due to irreconcilable differences with his client, said his work had been mischaracterized by McCullough.

“In 37 years, I’ve never been unprepared to try a case,” he said, adding: “I’m not ‘intellectually capable of trying a case’? That’s absurd.”

McCullough is a former Allegheny County councilman. His law practice has lost a significant amount of business, he told the judge yesterday. “The life I used to lead is over.”

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