The estranged wife of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review publisher Richard Mellon Scaife is off the hook on charges stemming from an argument over her yellow Labrador retriever, Beauregard, on a Shadyside street in April.
Margaret "Ritchie" Scaife and her husband are currently locking horns in a sealed divorce battle, which involves the publisher's reported $1.2 billion net worth. But the couple's marital problems became public after two incidents involving police. The first was in December, when Ritchie Scaife was charged with trespassing at her husband's home. During the April incident, Ritchie Scaife was charged with assault; she had allegedly tussled with three of her husband's employees in an effort to retrieve the dog.
On Aug. 23, District Judge Cathleen Cawood Bubash tossed the assault charges at a preliminary hearing and dismissed the trespassing charges she had been scheduled to hear the next day.
"The judge basically said this was a matter involving a $500 million divorce; it had no place in criminal court and she threw it out," says one of Ritchie Scaife's attorneys, William Pietragallo.
"Mrs. Scaife was not surprised by the judge's decision, but she was certainly relieved," added her other attorney, Robert Del Greco.
Richard Scaife did not return a message seeking comment.
"All I can say about the matter is that it's under review at this time," says Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney. Manko added that no timetable has been set to decide whether to re-file charges, or to drop the matter altogether.
Ritchie Scaife filed an order of support against her husband in February. She then sued him in July, demanding the return of several hundred possessions she says her husband still holds, including Beauregard. As of Aug. 28, her husband had yet to file a legal response.