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Former Harrisburg mayor's trial pushed to 2017

Written by Emily Previti, epreviti | Oct 31, 2016 11:46 AM
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The state Attorney General's office case against former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed, 67, is now slated to start trial in January. (Diana Robinson/WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed's trial is now slated for the end of January.

Proceedings were scheduled to start on Halloween, but Judge Kevin Hess granted Reed's attorneys more time earlier this month.

The new trial dates are Jan. 23-27, according to state Attorney General's office spokesman Jeff Johnson.

Reed, 67, faces 114 theft and other charges linked to his alleged taking of artifacts bought with public money for city museums that never opened.

The seven-term mayor originally had nearly 500 charges against him, but the vast majority have been tossed out by Hess or dropped by the state since Reed's arrest in July 2015.

Reed's attorneys got more than 300 counts dismissed after successfully arguing the statute of limitations, even with the extension for public officials in Pennsylvania, had expired before his arrest.  

Now, they want bar the state from bringing up certain information during the trial including details surrounding how Harrisburg paid for artifacts, past city bond issues and attempted museum projects.

Twenty-five of the remaining charges are felonies, of which 21 are for Reed's alleged theft of firearms. The guns at focus are antiques, though, and they're supposed to be excluded from felony-grade charges, according to state statute and caselaw cited by Reed's lawyer Henry Hockeimer in a pretrial statement filed last week.

In a 64-page court document filed Friday, the state cites a statutory definition of firearms that seems to include antiques. Investigators only brought felony charges for potentially functional firearms, according to Johnson.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include details from a court filing.

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