A county judge in Pennsylvania has rebuffed efforts to pry reporters’ notes and phone records from six news groups in a grand jury leak probe.
But the court has yet to decide whether to compel the 15 subpoenaed journalists to testify.
Attorneys for casino owner Louis A. DeNaples, under indictment for perjury, in early June sent a flurry of subpoenas to reporters at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Associated Press, among other news groups. Details of the nominally secret grand jury investigation into DeNaples’ dealings with state gaming officials were leaked to the press.
Judge Todd A. Hoover conducted a closed hearing Monday to determine whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks. A ruling was not immediately made, but behind the closed doors media attorneys argued that the reporters shouldn’t be forced to testify in a state where a shield law protects journalists from revealing confidential sources in court.
DeNaples, who owns the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, Pa., was charged in late January with perjury, accused of lying to the gaming authorities. He has pleaded not guilty.