President of PA Bar Association resigns, facing prostitution charges after alleged extortion incident

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association is being charged with soliciting a prostitute in Luzerne County.

He resigned from his position amid the allegations.

Luzerne County detectives charged President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, David Schwager with soliciting a prostitute. According to court documents, the incident happened on December 30, 2019.

Investigators say schwager had sexual relations with a prostitute he hired through a female escort website.

The affidavit states he met her at 273 Carey Avenue in Wilkes-Barre and paid her in exchange for sexual acts. However, she secretly recorded the encounter, and used the video to extort Schwager for money.

Court documents state Schwager contacted detectives about the situation. Investigators identified the alleged prostitute as Emily Ann Merth and charged her with prostitution, theft by extortion and sexual extortion.

Merth admitted to detectives, she threatened to post the video “everywhere” unless Schwager paid her $1,000.

Charges were filed Monday. The Pennsylvania Bar Association Executive Director Barry M. Simpson issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Earlier today, our leadership team was notified that a misdemeanor charge was filed against the 2020-21 president, David Schwager. He has resigned.

While the charge is troubling, every person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty, and we have confidence in the operation of our justice system.

Following our association bylaws, 2020-21 President-elect Kathleen D. Wilkinson has automatically become the president and will subsequently begin her planned term as the association’s 2021-22 president at the close of our House of Delegates Meeting on May 21.”

Eyewitness News reached out to Schwager Wednesday evening but his attorney, Frank Nocito declined our request for comment due to the pending charges.

According to his biography on the PA Bar website, Schwager used to be the chair of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Schwager holds influential positions throughout the county including a seat on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Community Center in Kingston, and treasurer of The Meadows in Dallas.

We reached out to executive director of the Jewish Community Center for a statement but have not yet heard a response. Schwager is scheduled to appear in Luzerne County Court for a preliminary hearing on June 15.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Wilkinson has become the president and will begin her planned term as the association’s 2021-22 president at the close of the house of delegates meeting in May.

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