PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Three lawyers representing three of the Plum teachers accused in connection with a sex scandal were in court today seeking secret grand jury evidence.
All believe there’s likely to be something in the secret grand jury investigation files that could be relevant to their defense.
All three lawyers, Anthony DeLuca for Ruggieri, Al Lindsay for Zoldak and Mike Deriso for Cooper, appeared before Judge Jill Rangos, who presides over the Plum investigating grand jury.
They will now eventually meet with the prosecutor before determining what files are relevant.
Zoldak is accused of witness intimidation for identifying an alleged victim in class. His lawyer would likely want access to the grand jury interviews of all of those who were interviewed in that classroom, to determine everyone’s perception of what happened that day.
Ruggieri is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage student, and so is Cooper. The testimony of their alleged victims as well as other witnesses is of interest to their defense attorneys.
But, none of them were specific with reporters this morning.
“I really can’t tell you any more than I was sworn into the grand jury today,” said DeLuca. “And I have to keep all information that was revealed to me in that process.”
“Our original motion was the typical motion for discovery, where we ask for statements that our client has given, statements from witnesses, things of that nature,” said Lindsay. “And what happened was that we were initially told that those were not available because they were part of the grand jury process.”
“Hopefully, we can review some transcripts, flag what we believe to be relevant and discuss with the district attorney’s office some compromise,” said DeRiso.
At this point, those three Plum teacher trials are likely to begin in February.
A former part-time teacher, Michael Cinefra, was also charged. A trial date for him has not been set.