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New judge being brought in for fourth Cal Harris trial

By Kerry Longobucco.
A new judge has been appointed to preside over Cal Harris' fourth murder trial, which is scheduled to begin next March.

Harris' defense team confirmed that Columbia County Court Judge Richard Mott, has been appointed. The trial will still be held in Schoharie, but at the state court rather than county court.

Donna Aldea, one of Harris' attorneys, told Fox 40 that the decision was strictly an administrative one.

Schoharie County Court Judge George Bartlett requested that another judge take on the trial, due to his current workload. From jury selection to the end of jury deliberations, the third Cal Harris trial lasted nearly four months -- and, still, ended without a verdict.

Aldea said Schoharie County does not have many judges to begin with, and Bartlett did not feel it was wise to preside over another lengthy trial.

Harris, of Spencer, is accused of killing his wife, Michele Harris, on September 11, 2001.

He was convicted of murder twice in Tioga County Court, but those convictions were thrown out on appeals, and new trials were ordered. His third trial, which was relocated to Schoharie, ended with a hung jury.

Harris' fourth trial is scheduled to begin March 28, 2016.