Attorney for central Pa. newspaper reporter seeks to quash client's subpoena to testify in Sandusky case

By Jon Campisi | Jun 20, 2012

An attorney for a central Pennsylvania newspaper reporter whose articles on the case

involving accused child molester Jerry Sandusky were among the first reports on the Penn State University scandal filed a motion Tuesday seeking to have the judge presiding over the case quash a subpoena that had been served upon his client to testify in court.

Craig J. Staudenmaier, a lawyer with the Harrisburg firm Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, filed the motion June 19 on behalf of Sara Ganim, a reporter with The Patriot News whose coverage of the Sandusky child sex-abuse case earned the woman in her mid-twenties a Pulitzer Prize back in April.

In the motion, which was filed the same day Ganim was served with the subpoena by Sandusky’s defense team, Staudenmaier states that it is believed Ganim, if called to testify, would be asked questions from prosecutors and defense attorneys that would go “beyond the scope of the published material which appeared within the articles Ganim authored concerning the events at issue in this case and are thus protected from disclosure by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Pennsylvania Constitution, the reporter’s privilege and the Pennsylvania Newsgatherer’s Shield Law.”

The motion, which was filed at the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, goes on to state that the parties involved in the case have failed to make the necessary showing to “override those privileges that: (1) an effort was made to obtain the information sought from other sources, that (2) Ms. Ganim is the only access to the requested information, and that (3) the information sought is crucial to the claims or defenses asserted.”

The motion claims that the information sought by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Sandusky case might involve confidential sources or reviewed documents Ganim used in her reporting, but that were never officially printed in her newspaper articles.

The motion asks that Judge John Cleland, the jurist presiding over the Sandusky child molestation trial, grant a protective order that would prevent Ganim from being called to testify during the trial, which, after less than two weeks, is already nearing closing arguments.

Sandusky was formerly the assistant football coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

He was arrested late last year after a grand jury presentment. Sandusky, who is in his late 60s, is on trial accused of molesting 10 boys dating back to the 1990s.

Jury deliberation in the high profile case, which has gotten international media attention, may begin as early as later this week.

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