HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania judge Wednesday demanded the state attorney general attend a closed-door hearing to be questioned under oath about any leaks by prosecutors or a judge of secret grand jury material from the child sexual abuse investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The order by Judge John Cleland said Attorney General Kathleen Kane had just informed him she had “no knowledge at this time of any email” to prove such leaks occurred, but the judge said her reply might not have been adequate.
Cleland and Sandusky’s lawyer will question Kane on Thursday afternoon in a conference room at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center. Kane’s spokesman Chuck Ardo said the attorney general would appear for the questioning.
Cleland ordered Kane to disclose what she knew about leaks during a hearing last week on Sandusky’s request for subpoena power as he pursues an appeal of his 45-count conviction.
During that hearing in Bellefonte, Cleland questioned a state prosecutor about a news release Kane had issued a day before, accusing a former grand jury judge, Barry Feudale, of a reckless breach of court secrecy rules.
Sandusky lawyer Al Lindsay told Cleland last week that leaks had been used as an investigative tool that severely prejudiced Sandusky. He argued charges should be dismissed if the grand jury process is shown to have been unfair.
Cleland gave Kane a week to tell him, under seal, about any information she might have regarding leaks that involve Feudale or prosecutors with Kane’s office.
“She shall detail who was involved, what was disclosed, when and how it was disclosed,” Cleland’s Oct. 29 order said.
Lindsay told Cleland in September he believed there had been a “systemic breakdown of the grand jury process” and wanted more information about contacts between Feudale and state prosecutors. Kane told The Associated Press on Sept. 30 she suspected Sandusky leaks may have come from within her agency.
“The attorney general herself is not convinced that the leaks did not emanate from the office of attorney general and will comply with any subpoena seeking information about email traffic between this office and the judge,” Ardo said five weeks ago.
The existence of a grand jury investigation into Sandusky was first reported in March 2011 by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, part of its reporting of the case that won a Pulitzer Prize.
Sandusky was convicted by a jury in 2012, about six months before Kane took office as the first woman and first Democrat to be elected the state’s top prosecutor. He is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.
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