Special prosecutor assigned to probe Pa. grand jury leaks
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The supervising judge of the statewide grand jury that recommended charges against Jerry Sandusky has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate leaks coming from it and two other panels.
Judge Barry F. Feudale signed the four-page order appointing attorney James M. Reeder on Feb. 8.
It gives the former lawyer from the state attorney general's office until Aug. 8 to investigate and prosecute any illegal disclosure of information protected by the rules of grand jury secrecy, as well as any "breach of official duty or other unlawful act."
Judge Feudale issued the order, he wrote, because a preliminary investigation led him to believe a deeper probe into violations of grand jury secrecy was needed.
At the conclusion of Mr. Reeder's work, he is to submit a report to the state with recommendations on preserving grand jury secrecy, Judge Feudale wrote.
The order includes three grand juries: the 33rd Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, the 36th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury and the Dauphin County Fourth Investigating Grand Jury.
The 33rd Statewide Investigating Grand Jury handled the child sex abuse case against former Penn State University assistant football coach Sandusky, as well as three top administrators there. The still-pending case involving those administrators -- former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Timothy Curley and former vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz -- is listed among the case captions on the order.
Their charges of perjury, conspiracy and endangering welfare of children are on hold while Judge Feudale attempts to resolve motions by the defendants regarding their representation by former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin.
The defendants argue that testimony provided by Ms. Baldwin against their clients that led to new charges should not have been permitted because they believed she represented them before the grand jury in January 2011. Ms. Baldwin has said she was representing Penn State, not the men.
Judge Feudale, in his recent order, said the special prosecutor should also investigate a rule in the Pennsylvania Code as "Who May be Present During Session of an Investigating Grand Jury." In that rule, people permitted to attend include the attorney for the witness being examined.
Charles DeMonaco, the attorney representing Ms. Baldwin, said Judge Feudale's order "has nothing to do with Cynthia Baldwin or any of the pending motions regarding Cynthia Baldwin."
As for the 36th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury listed in the order, Judge Feudale notes that it has "yet to be empaneled."
The Dauphin County Fourth Investigating Grand Jury was empaneled in 2006 and was tasked with investigating the slot machine license sought by Scranton businessman Louis A. DeNaples. Perjury charges against him were dropped in 2009.
A special prosecutor appointed in May 2009 to probe grand jury secrecy violations in the case reported a year later that he was unable to determine where media leaks originated.
In an April 2011 opinion, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille wrote that the special prosecutor's "ultimate inability to determine the source of any breach of grand jury secrecy does not necessarily end the matter."
First Published February 28, 2013 12:00 am