The state Attorney General’s office wants to reduce the amount and severity of the criminal charges it filed against former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed to “streamline” his upcoming trial, according to a motion filed in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas Sept. 23.
Reed’s corruption trial is set to start Oct. 31. He is facing 144 charges, most alleging he stole historical artifacts from the city. Of those charges, 48 are felonies and 96 are misdemeanors.
To streamline the trial and assure the charges aligned with the artifacts seized from Reed, the AG’s office has asked the court to reduce the charge count to 114, which would include 25 felonies and 89 misdemeanors, said Jeff Johnson, spokesman for the AG.
“Our office conducted a comprehensive review of the artifacts that were seized in connection with the investigation,” Johnson said. “After they were appraised, in some cases we had to amend the charges that stemmed from specific items.”
Contending 21 of the 25 felonies are misclassified, Reed’s attorney, Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., has objected to the AG’s motion to amend the charges, however.
In an answer Hockeimer filed in court Friday, he said 21 of the counts are considered second-degree felonies simply because the AG’s office classified 21 of the antique guns agents seized from Reed as firearms.
Per state law, Hockeimer said in his filing antique guns are not considered firearms, and “Mr. Reed now objects to the inclusion of any counts classified as felonies solely because they involve antique guns.”
Hockeimer could not immediately be reached for comment Friday night.
In May, Senior Judge Kevin A. Hess threw out 305 of the nearly 500 counts lodged against Reed in July of 2015, saying the charges were too old to prosecute.
The ruling took all of the charges stemming directly to Reed’s actions as mayor off the table.
The other charges relate to historical artifacts Reed allegedly stole from the city.
Those counts are based on loads of artifacts state agents seized from Reed’s home and rented storage facility not long before he was arrested in July of last year.
Hockeimer has argued that Reed can prove he bought those items, many of which were planned to go in an ill-fated wild west museum in Harrisburg, legitimately.
Motion to File Amended Information
Answer to Petition to Amend DMEAST_27182172(1)