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False licensing witness fails to appear in court Thursday

An Allegheny County man who faces perjury charges in Warren County now faces a bench warrant.

Joel H. Burkett, 75, Cheswick, has been charged with perjury and impersonating the holder of a professional or occupational license after testifying as an expert witness in Warren County court.

He was to be in court on Thursday for preliminary arraignment but President Judge Maureen Skerda issued a bench warrant against Burkett for failure to appear.

According to police, Burkett was introduced as an expert witness in a September 2019 trial at Warren County Courthouse.

He testified that he was a Pennsylvania-licensed chiropractor, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

“The defendant was then asked under cross-examination to confirm his license number and if he was licensed,” according to the affidavit. Police said Burkett confirmed and said he was licensed.

“The defendant was shown a printout from the Licensing Authority, which displayed an expiration date of Sept. 1, 2016,” police said in the affidavit. “The defendant stated he renewed the license… and continued to purport that he holds a valid license.”

Police checked with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, according to the affidavit, discovering that Burkett was not licensed.

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