HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) -- A state judge on Thursday ordered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to turn over any documents she holds that might suggest the victims of convicted child sex offender Jerry Sandusky had a financial incentive to shade their testimony in his 2012 trial.
The order by Judge John Cleland came on the same day that a lawsuit was filed against Kane alleging she retaliated against the team that prosecuted the former Penn State assistant coach by leaking emails and secret grand jury information that embarrassed them.
Cleland ordered Kane to give Sandusky's current lawyer any documents she might have that show any of the former coach's victims had book deals, plans for civil damage lawsuits, lecture tour offers "or any other financial incentive to falsify testimony."
But in the same ruling, the judge denied permission to Sandusky's lawyer, Alexander Lindsay, to compel testimony from a list of potential witnesses he hoped could prove that his client was denied a fair trial.
Cleland ruled that Sandusky had not shown the "exceptional circumstances" required to conduct such discovery in support of post-conviction appeals.
"Counsel’s legal argument in support of his request for discovery ... appears to equate ‘exceptional,’ with ‘high profile,'" the judge wrote, referring the intense publicity that U.S. media afforded Sandusky's trial, conviction and sentencing to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Lindsay told Reuters that he wanted any documents that Sandusky's former defense attorneys could have used to impeach the credibility of the victims by suggesting they had a financial motive to testify in the way they did.
Of the ruling on the broader discovery request, he said, "It doesn’t cripple us."
The federal lawsuit against Kane was filed in Philadelphia on Thursday by former state police commissioner Frank Noonan, former Sandusky prosecutors Frank Fina, Richard A. Sheetz Jr., and E. Marc Constanzo, and Sandusky investigator Randy Feathers.
They accuse Kane of using the power of her office to retaliate against them when they publicly defended themselves against her accusations that they had leaked secret information from a grand jury deliberations over the Sandusky allegations.
Her retaliation, according to court papers, includes her release of e-mails sent by the officials that were offensive and off-color but not illegal, as well as information from a separate grand jury deliberation.
Kane sought to make it look like Fina and Costanzo had improperly terminated a corruption investigation of the former head of the Philadelphia NAACP, the lawsuit alleges.
Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Kane, said she has not yet read the lawsuit but would “defend herself vigorously.”
(Editing By Frank McGurty)