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Judge weighs 3rd bond request for Pittsburgh restaurateur charged with sexual assault

August 4, 2018

Adnan Hilton Pehlivan

A judge is considering a third bond request from a Pittsburgh restaurateur awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault and stalking.

Adnan Pehlivan, 47, owner of Regent Square’s Istanbul Sofra, has been in Allegheny County Jail since his bond was revoked May 24, a week after he was accused of following three women home from a South Side bar, breaking into their home and sexually assaulting one of the women.

Allegheny County President Judge Jeffrey Manning is considering a third request for bond to be reinstated in the form of electronic monitoring.

The hearing on the request came Tuesday from Pehlivan’s most recent attorney, Lee Rothman, who has represented Pehlivan since his preliminary hearing last month at which all charges were held for trial.

Pehlivan appeared via satellite from the jail during regularly scheduled bond hearings.

“How did this get on the list?” Manning asked. “I’ve already heard this twice.”

Rothman cited Pehlivan’s clean criminal record and strong ties to the community, including a teenage daughter and his Regent Square business. He entered into evidence a photo of Pehlivan and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

“He is a civic-minded person,” Rothman said, noting that the alleged victim admitted during the preliminary hearing that she’d been drinking the night of the assault, though Deputy District Attorney Jen DiGiovanni pointed out it was Pehlivan buying the drinks.

“We’re simply asking the presumption of innocence not be ignored here,” Rothman said.

Fitzgerald said in a statement he was appalled by the use of his photo as evidence in Pehlivan’s motion.

“Let me be clear. I do not know this individual. I do not support his petition,” Fitzgerald said. “I support the District Attorney’s Office position that this man is a flight risk and a danger to society. And I fully intend to convey the same to the court.”

Manning said he would consider the request.

Pehlivan was initially released May 15 after posting $20,000 cash bond, but that was revoked during a hearing a week later in which he requested he be allowed to travel outside the country for vacation with his teenage daughter.

Prosecutors at that hearing introduced surveillance video that allegedly shows Pehlivan systematically stalking the alleged victim and two friends after they left an East Carson Street bar.

Manning denied a second request by Pehlivan’s first attorney, Jimmy Sheets, which was filed in early June. Sheets sought to have Pehlivan released on electronic monitoring. Prosecutors introduced a video that had been downloaded from Pehlivan’s cellphone that depicted a man sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

The charges -- indecent assault of an unconscious person, burglary, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and simple assault -- were held for trial at a preliminary hearing last month. Additionally, prosecutors added three counts of stalking.

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