By: E&P Staff
In an attempt to find the source of leaks of grand jury testimony, lawyers for casino owner Louis DeNaples are demanding that 15 reporters turn over all handwritten notes, as well as their personal cell phones and home phone bills.
The subpoenas were issued Wednesday and involve reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre, the Allentown Morning Call, and The Associated Press. James Roxbury, owner of Roxbury News (an independent video news company) was also subpoenaed.
DeNaples, the owner of Mt. Airy Resort and Casino in the Pocono region of the state, was charged with perjury in January after he allegedly lied under oath to the state’s Gaming Control Board.
A spokesman for DeNaples said that the press reports of the grand jury proceedings in the DeNaples case amounted to “prosecution by headline.”
Ardith Hilliard, vice president and editor of the Morning Call, told the paper, “This is an attempt to inhibit the legitimate gathering of information by the press about issues of urgent interest to the citizens of Pennsylvania. We will vigorously defend our rights to fulfill this duty to the public. I am confident those rights will be upheld.”
Gayle C. Sproul, a Philadelphia attorney representing the Morning Call and the Associated Press, told the paper she is reviewing the subpoenas and will rely on the protections accorded by state and federal law.
In Pennsylvania, grand jury proceedings are secret and prosecutors, court officials, and jurors are barred from discussing the investigation. However, witnesses are not held to the same prohibition.
A date for the hearing has not been set.