Suspended Somerset DA pleads guilty to traffic charges; harassment, reckless driving allegations withdrawn

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Jul. 19—SOMERSET — Suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas was in county court Tuesday for a summary trial, but instead pleaded guilty to lesser traffic offenses stemming from an incident in March in Windber.

Thomas was accused of pursuing a witness in a 2021 sexual assault case against him, taunting the man and striking his vehicle.

Thomas pleaded guilty to careless driving and speeding before Senior District Judge Carmine W. Prestia Jr. Thomas must pay a fine and court costs.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte withdrew charges of reckless driving, running a stop sign and harassment.

The plea means that Thomas avoids a summary trial and a possible six-month suspension of his driver's license, which is the penalty in Pennsylvania for those found guilty of reckless driving.

He appeared with his attorneys, Ryan M. Tutera and Eric Jackson Lurie.

Thomas is scheduled to appear for trial in September on allegations that he entered a woman's home in Windber carrying beer, then sexually assaulted and strangled her.

His law license was suspended, preventing him from overseeing his office, and the Somerset County Salary Board halted his pay late last year.

Thomas is on house arrest and must wear an electronic ankle monitor.