Image via WikipediaA ruling by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Western District will unseal grand jury documents involving a probe of a state senator and her sister concerning allegations that paid legislative staff engaged in campaign work for the senator and another sister who serves as a justice on the Supreme Court, according to a story by the Associated Press.
The petition for review filed by PG Publishing Co., publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (No. 33 WM 2010), and a similar petition filed by WPXI, Inc. television station (No. 45 WM 2010), sought to overturn Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Zottola's refusal in March to allow a Post-Gazette reporter access to documents related to the investigation of Sen. Jane Orie and her sister Janine, purportedly because of a Supreme Court order. Justice Joan Orie Melvin did not participate in the court's decision.
Judge Zottola wrongly sealed all the documents in the case, the Supreme Court ruled, and must conduct proceedings to determine which documents should be unsealed and made accessible to the press. Jane and Janie Orie are awaiting trial on the charges that they used paid members of Sen. Orie's staff to perform campaign work for Sen. Orie and Justice Orie.