​​​​​​Former Port Richey tries to have evidence thrown out before trial

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PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – The former mayor of Port Richey appeared in court Thursday wanting to block portions of an officer’s testimony and redact sections of jailhouse calls before the start of his trial next week. 

Dale Massad, 68, is accused of several crimes, including practicing medicine without a license, shooting at Pasco County deputies, and conspiracy. 

He wore a suit and tie and walked into court Thursday, unlike last week when bailiffs wheeled him into the courtroom in a jumpsuit. 

The hearing Thursday was mostly centered on jailhouse phone calls Massad made after being locked up.

His attorneys argued that some of the content had nothing to do with his charges, but state prosecutors disagreed and said the calls would give the jury an idea of Massad’s motives. 

Judge Mary Handsel’s ruling Thursday was a compromise for both sides, allowing portions of the jailhouse calls to be heard during the trial and other sections redacted. 

Massad has been in trouble before over what he’s said on the phone. A judge told him last week that he must stay in jail due to concerns he’d interfere with key witnesses. 

The judge also agreed with certain arguments from the state and defense concerning testimony from a Port Richey officer. Attorneys say the officer is very familiar with handling unrelated calls at Massad’s home. 

“I think what the judge called was appropriate. We look forward to the trial next week,” said Massad’s attorney Denis deVlaming. “That’s probably going to be the major aspect of the case is picking a jury.”

Jury selection begins Monday with opening arguments expected to start Tuesday morning. 

Judge Handsel is expecting the trial to last no longer than two days. 

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