Mercer District Attorney in court to answer to criminal charges - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercer District Attorney in court to answer to criminal charges

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Mercer County, Pa. -

Mercer County's top law enforcement official was in court on Wednesday, answering to criminal charges against him. 

Seventy-two-year-old District Attorney Miles Karson is facing 17 misdemeanor charges, including obstruction of government functions, officially oppressing an arrest or search warrant, and hindering prosecution. 

The criminal complaint filed in October in Mercer County Magisterial Court alleges that Karson used his position as the D.A. to influence several investigations and/or charges against a woman, whom the complaint says Karson was in a romantic relationship with. committed the offenses in April of 2016. 

Karson is also accused of attempting to intervene in a case in which the woman was accused of stealing more than $30,000 from a local business. In that instance, the complaint says that Karson told the victim of the theft to "be lenient" and to "feel sorry" for the woman. 

In a separate allegation, the criminal complaint says that on two separate occasions Karson arrived at the scene of car accidents involving the woman and sent her away before she could be tested for driving under the influence. The complaint says that on both occasions she was suspected of being under the influence. 

However, in court on Wednesday allegations were brought forth that Karson convinced a high-ranking police officer to not write a report. 

In addition, Karson faces charges of using his position as district attorney to impact a child custody case involving an ex-boyfriend of the woman. Karson allegedly told attorneys that there was an active drug investigation against the man in order to influence the case. 

Karson then reportedly used his power to contact the Mercer County Jail and request recordings of that man's phone conversations and signed documentation that it was for official purposes. 

The criminal complaint also says that Karson on several occasions contacted other judges and asked for the woman to be released on unsecured bond. 

In one charge, the Attorney General's office says that Karson contacted a probation officer after the woman failed a drug test. He allegedly asked the probation officer "can you do me a favor and not take her to jail today?". 

The charges go on to say that Karson and the woman were romantically involved during the course of most of the allegations. 

In addition, police were called out to what appeared to be a domestic dispute involving Karson and the woman. According to the complaint, Karson waved the officers away and told them that everything was fine, resulting in police not investigating further. 

District Attorney Karson previously said that he learned of the allegations against him from a news reporter, and he says he was definitely surprised.  He went on to say that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the charges that have been put out in the news media.  He says he's a firm believer in the court system, he has a great trust in the legal process and he's confident that the case will eventually be resolved in his favor.

"I assure you that I've committed no offense, and I'm anxious to fight the allegations made in a courtroom," Karson said.

Karson's Attorney Al Lindsay also says D.A. Karson will not be resigning even though there are reports that some attorneys are calling for him to step down.

According to the Public Information Officer for Mercer County, under Pennsylvania Law, a public official can still perform their official duties while under investigation for criminal actions. 

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