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Former Port Richey mayor appears in court for pre-trial hearing
A Pasco County judge will hear three motions on Thursday from the defense of the former Port Richey mayor. Last week, a judge declined to set a bond for Dale Massad. Prosecutors say Massad shot at Pasco County sheriff's deputies during a Feb. 21 SWAT raid at his home. At the time, deputies were trying to serve Massad a warrant after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement got a tip he was practicing medicine in his home without a license. Massad is accused of using "crack cocaine and meth" daily and stitching-up a friend on his kitchen table. He is charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, practicing medicine without a license and other charges. While in jail, officials say Massad and former interim Port Richey Mayor Terrence Rowe were taped on a prison phone line discussing retaliation against a witness. Two of the motions from Massad's defense request the state redact certain parts of audio tape recordings listed as evidence. The third motion requests that prosecutors tell an officer, who is a witness in the case, “not to discuss previous unrelated encounters” with Massad. Rowe was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and use of two-way communication device to facilitate the commission of a crime. Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Rowe in March. On Tuesday, Port Richey voted to elect a new mayor. Unofficial election results showed Scott Tremblay edging out runner-up Bill Columbo 156-148. Massad's trial is scheduled to start on June 24 for charges of using a two-way communication device and conspiracy.