By Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2020

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A defense attorney for a sheriff accused of corruption has told Pennsylvania appeals court judges that his client should not be tried again after his first case ended in a mistrial.

Former Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held is now a private citizen, and his attorney Ryan Tutera told the Superior Court judges that there is not enough evidence from the first trial to warrant a second, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday.

Held is accused of instructing on-duty staffers to participate in reelection campaign activities. Prosecutors said uniformed deputies solicited items for political fundraisers, used office computers to catalog donations and assigned staffers to tasks that advertised reelection efforts in 2015.

Jurors found Held guilty of a felony count of conflict of interest and a misdemeanor theft charge. However, the verdict was negated after a juror publicly rescinded their vote. A mistrial was then declared in December 2018.

Senior Deputy Attorney General William Stoycos said the case should be allowed to continue since some jurors found there was enough evidence to convict Held.

“The question the court must ask is does the evidence empower any rational juror to find we could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, all but one juror voted guilty,” Stoycos said.

The appeals court judges will rule at a later date.

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