Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was ordered last week to turn over evidence that she says proves that Judge Barry Feudale (now retired), the judge that oversaw the grand jury investigation into Sandusky, leaked information to a reporter (who later won a Pulitzer for the story) in order to strengthen the prosecution’s case. The order came after defense attorneys requested a new trial based upon the information. Sandusky, a former assistant football coach and Penn State University was convicted in 2012 of 10 cases of child molestation. Interestingly, Sandusky’s lawyers have long maintained that information was leaked by the prosecution to taint the jury pool and to encourage more alleged victims to come forward. In fact, they were stating this before anything was revealed publicly by Kane.
Sandusky’s appellate lawyer Alexander Lindsay maintains the grand jury initially heard from just 2 alleged victims, but the case was quickly falling apart, so the judge leaked the information in order to generate public interest, which prompted additional alleged victims to come forward, which strengthened the prosecution’s case winning them an indictment. Sandusky, 71, is currently serving 30 – 60 years in a Pennsylvania Supermax prison.
Judge John Cleland, who oversaw Sandusky’s trial, has yet to rule on Sandusky’s other request to research other people connected to his case, including former state Attorney General Tom Corbett and Sara Ganim, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter who first broke the story in 2011, winning her a Pulitzer Prize.
Kane maintains that some judges in Pennsylvania including Feudale are too cozy with prosecutors, including Frank Fina (the prosecutor who spearheaded the Sandusky investigation). Kane, who herself is facing allegations (prompted by Frank Fina) that she leaked grand jury information to the media, said that she is in possession of emails that show “Judge Feudale’s overriding concern was how to leak sealed Supreme Court documents without getting caught.”
Kane has been on a crusade to expose other public officials, including several Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices and staff members at her predecessor, Tom Corbett’s office. Much of the scandal is related to sordid emails that judges and prosecutors exchanged including racist, sexually explicit, misogynistic, bigoted, and other degrading content phrased mostly as jokes. Shockingly, not many of those involved have lost their jobs.
Kane’s office said that they “intend to comply” with the judge’s order.
Lindsay cheered the order, saying, “If there was prosecutorial abuse, the remedy is to dismiss the case…”
The day before, a different judge ruled that prosecutors can seek additional charges for another man who has come forward alleging Sandusky abused him in 1988. Sandusky lost his first appeal previously. His appellate attorneys still hold that the trial was fast tracked and should have been delayed due to the high-profile nature of the case.
“Mr. Sandusky’s due process right to a fair trial was not only infringed, it was crushed under a stampede of vitriol, rage, and prejudice that mandate a new trial in this case,” Lindsay said.
After the hearing, the prosecutors said “It is our position that Mr. Sandusky’s arguments lack merit. His request is akin to a mere fishing expedition…”
“The seriousness of this reckless breach of sealed Supreme Court documents, orchestrated by the presiding judge of a state investigative grand jury, with attorneys and the very reporters who have covered some of the Sandusky, Computergate, and Bonusgate cases cannot be overstated,” Kane said.