Veteran rejects plea deal

David D. Rainelli Jr., 42, an Army veteran charged with making false reports about his treatment at the hands of Logan Township police, has rejected a plea agreement offered by prosecutors.

Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan held a status conference in the Rainelli case on Thursday and set jury selection for June 10.

The status conference in the 4-year-old case was held in Sullivan’s chambers. It included Assistant Public Defender Joe Hartye, representing Rainelli, and Senior Deputy Attorney General Glenn Parno, who is handling the prosecution.

The Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting Rainelli because he is a nephew of Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio.

The case originally had been filed in Blair County, but because of the relationship between the Blair DA and Rainelli, Blair County Judge Hiram A. Carpenter dismissed the charges.

The Attorney General’s Office last year filed new charges against Rainelli including two counts of unsworn falsification to authorities and two counts of false reports to law enforcement.

After the in-chambers discussion, Sullivan took the Rainelli case into the courtroom and reported that a plea offer had been made asking Rainelli to agree to an open plea to one unspecified count.

The judge questioned Rainelli, wanting to know if he wanted a trial.

“I do,” Rainelli, an inmate at the Centre County Prison, replied.

Hartye said the defense understands the plea agreement that was offered, and he told the court he recommended that Rainelli accept it.

Parno told Rainelli that it is his policy that any plea agreement that is on the table will be withdrawn when the jury is selected.

The Army veteran initially was arrested outside the Van Zandt VA Medical Center in October 2008 and eventually entered no-contest pleas to resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, charges for which he was placed on probation.

The additional charges stem from Rainelli’s contention that Logan Township police had roughed him up. Rainelli’s former lawyer in court papers said his client was charged criminally for making those accusations “loudly,” “sometimes brashly” and “annoyingly” and for exercising his right to free speech.

Rainelli’s charges were initially investigated by Logan Township Police Chief Ron Heller and then by state police.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.