Former Port Richey mayor Dale Massad gets a trial date in conspiracy case

The defense is demanding a speedy trial because Massad is being held without bail on the charge.
Former Port Richey mayor Dale Glen Massad, 68, has been behind bars since Feb. 21, when he was arrested at his home. [JUSTIN TROMBLY | Times; Pasco County Sheriff’s Office]
Former Port Richey mayor Dale Glen Massad, 68, has been behind bars since Feb. 21, when he was arrested at his home. [JUSTIN TROMBLY | Times; Pasco County Sheriff’s Office]
Published May 17

NEW PORT RICHEY — June 24 has been set as a trial date for former Port Richey mayor Dale Massad in one of three criminal cases he faces.

The date was set at a hearing Friday before Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Court Judge Mary Handsel.

Trial is expected to take one or two days on the charge of conspiring to obstruct justice, according to estimates provided by defense attorney Bjorn Brunvand and prosecutor Rita Pavan Peters.

READ MORE: Drugs, guns and politics collided in the small town of Port Richey. Two mayors went to jail.

"While it's unusual to demand (a) speedy trial, that is the case that's been keeping him in jail without a bond," Brunvand told reporters outside the New Port Richey courthouse. "So we're hoping that will change in the near future."

Massad was originally arrested Feb. 21 on charges of attempted murder and practicing medicine without a license. Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had been investigating whether Massad, a former doctor, was treating people without a license and they enlisted the Pasco County Sheriff's SWAT team to serve a search warrant at his home.

But when deputies busted down Massad's doors, the mayor fired two rounds from a handgun. Authorities say he shot toward the deputies; Massad's lawyers say he did not.

He has been held in the county jail since then without bail because of the conspiracy charges, stemming from a conversation he had on a recorded jail phone line with his successor, then-Vice Mayor Terry Rowe. They spoke about intimidating aPort Richey police officer who worked undercover during the state's investigation, authorities said. Rowe also was arrested.

Massad's lawyers waived his speedy-trial rights in the attempted murder and practicing medicine charges. His next court appearance was set for June 20.

Contact Justin Trombly at jtrombly@tampabay.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.

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