Pennsylvania judge hands setback to Sandusky in bid for new trial

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 06, 2015 5:04 PM

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A lawyer for Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach convicted of child sex abuse, said on Friday he is considering his next step after a judge rejected his request for an investigation that he hoped would lead to a new trial for his client.

Judge John Cleland said he lacked jurisdiction over lawyer Alexander Lindsay's petition for a probe into how the Harrisburg Patriot-News newspaper obtained secret grand jury information in 2011 for its Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of Sandusky’s crimes.

Lindsay has argued in court papers that the grand jury leak to Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim, now a correspondent for CNN, was a factor in what he said was a denial of due process to Sandusky and potential grounds for a new trial.

Cleland instead ruled on Thursday that Lindsay needed to petition Judge Norman Krumenauer, the current supervising judge of the statewide grand jury that investigated Sandusky.

"We'll make a decision next week," Lindsay told Reuters on Friday. "The judge gave us the option to pursue the information from Judge Krumenauer."

In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 child molestation charges filed against him. The former assistant to legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in the state's "supermax" prison in Waynesburg.

Cleland made the ruling after hearing testimony on Thursday from Attorney General Kathleen Kane. She denied knowledge of any leaks to the paper by Judge Barry Feudale, who was supervising judge of the grand jury when it indicted Sandusky, or by Frank Fina, the Sandusky prosecutor.

Kane said an Oct. 28 news release she had written had been misinterpreted as suggesting she knew that Feudale or Fina played a role in leaking secret information to the reporter.

Asked if the ruling was unexpected, Lindsay said: "We had no expectations. This was a very unusual proceeding. Anything could have happened."

He would not comment on whether he might appeal Cleland's ruling.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty; Editing by Tom Brown)