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Pennsylvania groundhog's handler taking blame for forecast

This Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo shows Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holding the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring during the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pa. Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring. (Associated Press file photo)
This Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo shows Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holding the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring during the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pa. Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring. (Associated Press file photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, March 25, 2013 01:42 pm
PITTSBURGH — An Ohio prosecutor who has light-heartedly filed charges against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog who fraudulently "predicted" an early spring says he may consider a pardon now that the animal's handler is taking the blame.That's right, Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle says the animal rightly predicted six more weeks of winter but Deeley tells The Associated Press he mistakenly announced an early spring because he failed to correctly interpret Phil's "groundhog-ese."

Butler County, Ohio prosecutor, Mike Gmoser (MOH'-ser) tells the AP he's reconsidering the charges in light of the new evidence and may issue a full pardon.

The Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, a borough about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, attracts worldwide attention each year.

Deeley says the prosecutor's indictment of Phil has generated more publicity than a $10,000 ad campaign.

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