By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Court officials in Montgomery County are now seeking an “out of county” district court judge to decide whether former county commissioner James Matthews will be held for trial on perjury charges.

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The prosecution and the defense say they are both on the same page when it comes to assigning an “out of county” district justice to preside over the preliminary hearing.

Matthews was arrested last month and charged with lying to a grand jury that was investigating how the county does business (see related story).

County prosecutor John Gradel says that Matthews, as a commissioner, had ties to every judge in the county in one way or another.

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“It seemed to me that no matter what decision the district justice makes at the preliminary hearing, it’s going to be attacked from one side or the other,” Gradel told KYW Newsradio this morning.

If Matthews, 62, is held for trial, Gradel says it’s likely that another “out of county” judge would be assigned to the case.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 17th, but that could be delayed depending on how long it takes to find a judge.


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