District Attorney Demands Criminal Charges, Threatens Lawsuits Against Forgery Accusers
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller has been cleared of forgery allegations by a grand jury, and now she's calling for a criminal investigation against her accusers.
In a press conference held Friday afternoon on the steps of the Centre County Courthouse, Parks Miller took aim at her former paralegal Michelle Shutt, whom she accused of “lying and conniving.” Shutt signed an affidavit last December formally accusing Parks Miller of forging Centre County Common Pleas Judge Pamela Ruest’s signature on a fake bail order.
“The [grand jury presentment] is crystal clear that Shutt committed at least three crimes: making a false report to police, making a false report by writing it down and signing the affidavit, and she also clearly committed felony perjury,” Parks Miller said.
Parks Miller asks the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General to conduct a criminal investigation into Shutt and “anyone else who assisted, encouraged and supported her lies.” She specifically named the Centre County Commissioners and Centre County Solicitor Louis Glantz as key players in what she calls “a witch hunt” against her office.
“They have made defamatory statements against me for seven months straight, based on lie after lie,” Parks Miller said. “They have been trying, with a handful of other people, to convince this county and my supports that the district attorney and law enforcement of Centre County is corrupt with their lies.”
Parks Miller also identified several local defense attorneys – including Sean McGraw, Bernard Cantorna and Phillip Masorti – as being involved with the alleged conspiracy against her.
Masorti and Cantorna presented Shutt’s forgery allegations to the Centre County Commissioners in January, kicking off a short-lived investigation by Bellefonte police before the OAG took over the case. They, along with McGraw, also unsuccessfully attempted to have Parks Miller removed from several criminal cases by using phone records obtained through Right to Know requests filed with the county to allege the appearance of bias between judges and prosecutors.
The phone records that the county released are now at the center of three interconnected lawsuits between Parks Miller, two county judges, and the county government. These lawsuits involve many of the same players as the forgery allegations, but are a separate issue that has yet to be resolved.
The county commissioners have repeatedly portrayed these lawsuits as an issue of transparency and open government, but Parks Miller called this line of reasoning “a smokescreen” to detract attention away from what she describes as illegal behavior.
Parks Miller’s attorney Bruce Castor – a current Montgomery County Commissioner who is running for election as that county’s district attorney – also had some harsh words about the Centre County Commissioners.
Castor said the commissioners directed the Bellefonte police to conduct an investigation into the forgery allegations in January even though the OAG was the proper investigatory office, causing “a series of dominos to fall.”
The Bellefonte police obtained a publicly-released search warrant for Parks Miller’s office, which contained details about an ongoing undercover investigation into a murder plot against an assistant district attorney. Castor says this compromised the investigation, put the assistant district attorney in unnecessary danger, and was an indirect result of the commissioner’s actions.
“We will do everything we can to see that those responsible for these atrocities will be held accountable,” Castor said.
Castor said that civil litigation is “a probability,” but he needs to determine who might be liable before he publicly announces the defendants in these potential lawsuits.
Although several protestors at the press conference accused Parks Miller of eroding the public’s faith in the court system through questionable conduct, Parks Miller herself said she vowed to fight corruption and restore confidence in the judiciary.
“I will do what is right based upon facts, and I don’t engage in cronyism or let politics enter the DA’s office,” Parks Miller said. “I made promises to this community, and I will not be beaten down with lies.”
Masorti declined to comment when contacted by StateCollege.com. Glantz, McGraw and two of the county's attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.