2009-05-28 / Local & State

Probation For McCain Volunteer In Fake Pa. Attack

By JOE MANDAK ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former John McCain campaign volunteer who falsely claimed she was attacked in Pittsburgh because she had the candidate's bumper sticker on her car will spend nine months on probation in a special program for first-time offenders.

An Allegheny County judge accepted Ashley Todd, 21, of College Station, Texas, into the program along with about 120 others - mostly drunk drivers - in a group court appearance Friday.

"This is a privilege to be in this program,'' Senior Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo told the group. "In normal language, you're getting a break today.''

In October, Todd claimed a Barack Obama supporter robbed and assaulted her near an automatic teller machine in Pittsburgh, and then scratched a "B'' on her cheek after noticing the McCain sticker on her car. Police said they doubted her story from the start - in part because the "B'' on her face was backward - and eventually determined she made it up. She was charged with a misdemeanor false report count.

Todd didn't speak during her 30-second appearance before the judge. She declined to comment as she left the building, saying, "I didn't have any (comment) before, and don't have any now.''

A male friend escorted her out of the courthouse, shoving a local television cameramen in a hallway.

Todd must also perform 50 hours of unspecified community service. If she completes the probation without incident, her criminal record will be expunged.

When Todd was freed on bond in October, she was required to stay with an uncle in New York, but also provide the court with her Texas address and one for her mother. She also had to prove she was receiving mental health treatment every two weeks.

A probation officer explained the continuing terms of Todd's release to her, but they were not made public.

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