NEW PORT RICHEY -- Testimony is underway in the obstruction of justice trial of former Port Richey mayor Dale Massad.
He's accused in connection with a phone call to the then-acting mayor, Terrence Rowe. Prosecutors say he tried to get Port Richey police officer Kenny Howard removed from office.
Massad was suspended from office by Governor Ron DeSantis after Pasco deputies say he shot at them as they tried to arrest him, on charges of practicing medicine without a license. Rowe was also suspended, once the phone call became public knowledge.
Massad's attorney, Denis DeVlaming, insisted in opening statements that most of the 14-minute call was about city business. He also claims Howard had a motive to get Massad in trouble... concern that he might not keep his job if the Pasco County Sheriff took over law enforcement duties in the city.
The first witness called by prosecutors... the city manager.
Photo Credit: Pasco Sheriff's Office