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Grand jury hears from 2 linked to Fayette DUI case

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Picture Liz Zemba 412-601-2166
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Tribune-Review

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By Liz Zemba

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A statewide investigative grand jury that meets in Harrisburg heard from at least two more Fayette County witnesses this week.

Jeremy Davis, a Uniontown attorney, said he was called to testify on Wednesday. He declined to reveal the details of his testimony.

“I can't tell you anything,” Davis said.

Davis and four others who have testified before the grand jury have connections to a driving-under-the-influence case that was initially dismissed against the nephew of another assistant district attorney, who has since been elected as a Common Pleas Court judge. The case was refiled through the state Attorney General's Office.

Other witnesses have been called to describe how judicial procedures work in Fayette County.

Tammy Lambie, deputy court administrator for the county, declined to comment on her appearance.

Karen Kuhn, court administrator, said Lambie was excused from her duties at the Uniontown courthouse on Wednesday because she was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.

Others who have appeared before the grand jury include District Attorney Jack Heneks and two assistant district attorneys, Doug Sepic and Michelle Kelley.

Heneks would not comment on his appearance. Kelley and Sepic declined to discuss their testimony.

Davis represented Robert Lee Rudnik, 30, of Connellsville during the first preliminary hearing on the drunken-driving charges on Dec. 13, 2011, before District Judge Dwight Shaner.

Rudnik's aunt, Linda Cordaro, was the assistant district attorney assigned to prosecute cases at Shaner's office that day. She told the Tribune-Review this year that she recused herself.

Shaner dismissed the charges. Davis in September said the trooper did not have witnesses available to testify, so the defense attorney's request for dismissal was granted.

Lambie oversees the county's district judge offices.

Cordaro will be sworn in as a judge in January.

Rudnik is accused of fleeing when his Dodge Durango hit a mailbox and guardrail on Sept. 14, 2011, on Monarch Road in Dunbar Township. According to a criminal complaint, a witness told troopers that Rudnik drove away and parked his sport utility vehicle in front of a nearby residence.

The complaint said a breath test indicated Rudnik's blood-alcohol content was 0.166 percent, twice the legal limit for intoxication in Pennsylvania.

At the direction of Deputy Attorney General L. Todd Goodwin, Trooper Joseph Ross refiled the charges against Rudnik. The case was held for trial at a Sept. 9 preliminary hearing before Redstone District Judge Mike Defino.

Defino was assigned to the case when Shaner recused himself for “personal reasons,” according to a letter to President Judge John F. Wagner Jr.

Ross and two witnesses who testified at Rudnik's Sept. 9 preliminary hearing, Dunbar Township residents Thomas Brown and James Glunt, in September declined to comment about their testimony.

Investigating grand juries meet in secret. Under state law, jurors and prosecutors are prohibited from publicly discussing grand jury investigations.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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