Allegheny County Councilman to Stand Trial on Charges of Theft

Article excerpt

An Allegheny County councilman will stand trial on allegations he stole $200,000 from an elderly widow, a county judge ruled Friday.

Charles McCullough tried to use his power of attorney for widow Shirley H. Jordan, 92, to secure millions of dollars for his personal benefit, Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus told the judge during final arguments yesterday.

McCullough, 54, an Upper St. Clair lawyer, stole to enrich his family and build political alliances before his successful 2007 run for the at-large seat on County Council, Claus said.

"Mr. McCullough accomplished many positive actions on behalf of Mrs. Jordan," Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen said before announcing that prosecutors had enough evidence to advance their case to trial. "Practicing law can lead to dealing with many complex matters, as we saw in this case."

Machen's comments indicate that defense attorneys have a robust case to make for McCullough and his sister, Kathleen McCullough, 46, of Collier, also held for trial on related charges, his lead attorney Thomas J. Farrell said.

McCullough and his sister left the courtroom and took only a few steps before reversing direction to avoid television cameras. They ignored a request for comment from a newspaper reporter. …