He lied. Now a prosecutor in Ohio wants Punxsutawney Phil to pay.
The famed groundhog predicted an early spring when he didn't see his shadow Feb. 2 after emerging from his western Pennsylvania lair.
But the first day of spring has come and gone, and some areas of the US are still covered in snow. Many are shivering in below-normal cold.
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Tongue firmly in cheek, the prosecutor in Ohio's Butler County filed an "indictment" today against Phil for deliberately misleading the public.
“Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early,” Mike Gmoser wrote in the official-looking document.
The wrong prediction amounts to a felony in Ohio, he wrote.
Gmoser wants the death penalty if Phil is convicted.
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The groundhog's handlers quickly got in on the joke, proclaiming his innocence.
"If you remember two weeks ago on a Sunday, it was probably 60, 65 degrees," handler John Griffiths told WXIX. "So, I mean, that basically counts as an early spring."
Punxsutawney Phil has been making his predictions since 1887 and will likely continue.
However, his handlers may want to add a disclaimer to Phil's website -- "Not responsible for wrong predictions."
FOX19.com-Cincinnati News, Weather