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Prosecutor Drops Charge Against Punxsutawney Phil

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(credit: Archie Carpenter/Getty Images)

(credit: Archie Carpenter/Getty Images)

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HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The groundhog is off the hook.

An Ohio prosecutor who light-heartedly filed a criminal indictment against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog who fraudulently “predicted” an early spring says he has dismissed the charge.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser says Punxsutawney Phil has a defense with teeth in it since the animal’s handler is taking the blame.

The Groundhog Day celebration about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh attracts worldwide attention each year. That stretched well beyond Feb. 2 when Gmoser last week issued an indictment as winter-like weather continued across much of the nation, even as spring began.

Gmoser says the tongue-in-cheek indictment generated a lot of attention, but he has a lot of “really serious work” to do and wanted to end things on a positive note.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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