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Centre County Officials Reportedly Meet in Cambria County for Grand Jury-Related Hearing

by on February 05, 2015 6:15 AM

Secrecy abounds as the forgery allegations against Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller continue to attract increasing attention.

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to come into play.

But on Wednesday, the focus appeared to be on a Cambria County courtroom. Parks Miller and numerous other parties embroiled in the case reportedly appeared before a Cambria County judge in a closed-door meeting that may have involved grand jury proceedings.

Bruce Castor, an attorney for Parks Millers, confirms he attended a hearing in Cambria County, but adds that "the judge specifically said he didn't want us discussing the case."

According to multiple media reports, Parks Miller and her attorney, the three Centre County commissioners and their attorney, the Bellefonte chief of police, Parks Miller's former paralegal and her attorney and State College attorney Phillip Masorti all appeared before Judge Norman Krumenacker.

According to Pennsylvania Courts spokesperson Jim Koval, Krumenacker is both a common pleas judge in Cambria County and the presiding judge of a grand jury based in Pittsburgh.

When asked for details about Wednesday’s meeting with the Centre County officials, Koval could not provide any details.

“Your queries concern matters under the jurisdiction of the grand jury, and… are confidential,” Koval says in an email.

Commissioner Michael Pipe confirms he was in Cambria County on Wednesday, but says he cannot legally offer further comment on why or where he was or what he was doing.

Attorney John Abom, who serves as special counsel to the Centre County commissioners, declined to comment. Centre County Solicitor Louis Glantz did not respond to requests for comment. 

The reported meeting could be related to allegations that Parks Miller forged the signature of Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest on a fake court order. Parks Miller’s former paralegal, Michelle Shutt, in an affidavit dated Dec. 30, 2014, alleges that she witnessed the forgery. Parks Miller has emphatically denied the allegation, claiming that Judge Ruest signed the document herself.

Ruest has previously declined to comment.

By the end of the day on Thursday, the commissioners and the Bellefonte Police Department must respond to a petition filed by Parks Miller in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

As part of an investigation into the forgery allegations, Bellefonte police searched Parks Miller’s office late last month and seized a county-owned computer, tablet and cellphone.

In response, Parks Miller filed two petitions: one with the Centre County Court of Common Pleas asking for the return of the seized items, and one with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Parks Miller wants the state’s highest court to intervene in what she describes as an unjust and unauthorized investigation. According to her petition only the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has the appropriate authority to investigate allegations against district attorneys.

Parks Miller claims she took the forgery allegations to the attorney general’s office before they were made public. The attorney general’s office has repeatedly denied requests to confirm whether that office received the report or is conducting an investigation.

The supreme court petition specifically mentions the Bellefonte Police Department, Centre County Solicitor Louis Glantz and the three Centre County Commisioners.

When asked about the petition, Pipe explained that he is not legally able to comment.

 

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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