Judge denies Sandusky request for grand jury information

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 05, 2015 6:11 PM
Judge denies Sandusky request for grand jury information

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's request for information about a grand jury that investigated him was turned down Thursday after Pennsylvania's top prosecutor testified she had no knowledge of improper leaks in the case.

Judge John Cleland announced the ruling hours after he conducted a closed-door hearing to question Attorney General Kathleen Kane about what she might know about leaks activity involving the grand jury's supervisory judge and state prosecutors.

Cleland said Kane told him she had no evidence Judge Barry Feudale or state prosecutors were involved in leaking secret grand jury material about Sandusky before the former Penn State assistant coach was charged with child molestation in 2011.

Kane — who is facing perjury charges in a separate case related to grand jury leaks — told him she had no reason to think the judge and prosecutors "orchestrated, facilitated, cooperated in or arranged for the disclosure of otherwise secret grand jury information in this case," Cleland wrote.

He plans to make public a transcript of the hearing and said Sandusky's lawyer is still free to seek the same information about the jury from Judge Norman Krumenacker, who currently supervises the grand jury.

Cleland ordered Kane to disclose what she knew last week, after she issued a news release that accused Feudale of secrecy violations stemming from her successful effort to remove him from grand jury duties and, in the following sentence, she noted Sandusky's appeal.

In a written reply Tuesday, Kane told Cleland her news release only involved the Feudale removal effort and that she would let him know if she discovers anything about secrecy violations by the Sandusky investigative grand jury.

Defense attorney Al Lindsay told reporters that Cleland did most of the questioning.

"I think generally, she did not have an opinion or direct knowledge of any leaks, either directly by her office or by the supervisory judge of the grand jury," Lindsay said. He wants subpoena power as he pursues an appeal of Sandusky's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

Sandusky is pursuing an appeal under Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Relief Act after having lost direct appeals, so he's now limited in the types of claims he can make. Lindsay has argued there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant getting subpoena power to examine, among other things, contacts between Feudale and state prosecutors.

When Lindsay pushed for access to that information in late September, Kane said she suspected Sandusky leaks came from within her agency.

Sandusky has also requested subpoena power for other information, and Cleland said he would rule on those issues separately.

Kane awaits trial on criminal charges that include perjury for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information in another case to a newspaper and lying about it. She denies any wrongdoing and has resisted calls to resign.