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Pa. groundhog's handler taking blame for forecast

Prosecutor mulling 'pardon' for Phil

Groundhogs-Fallible-Forecast-3

Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holds 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., Feb. 2.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

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 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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