More defendants have asked for Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s federal defamation suit to be dismissed.
It is the second time the request has been made, after a flurry of documents were filed in September asking the court to toss out the DA’s lawsuit.
Jarad Handelman, attorney for Judge Pamela Ruest, took issue with that in documents filed Friday.
“Rather than responding to those grounds for dismissal, plaintiff instead filed an amended complaint, which not only fails to cure the fatal flaws in plaintiff’s claims against Judge Ruest, but compounds the futility of plaintiff’s theories by advancing new claims and allegations against all defendants that find even less support in law or fact than those first propounded,” he wrote.
The DA’s legal claims are a reaction to allegations that rose earlier in the year, including that Parks Miller forged Ruest’s signature on a bail order used in an investigation. That prompted a grand jury to investigate the allegations, which resulted in no recommendation of charges.
In addition to defamation, Parks Miller is suing for negligence, abuse of process, conspiracy, injurious falsehood and more.
Handelman asked that the charges be dismissed for failure to show cause. He also put forward the idea that Ruest’s position bars her from civil suits stemming from official duties. In the investigation of the forgery allegations, Ruest said she did not remember signing the document in question. Handelman said she only cooperated with an investigation.
Kathleen Yurchak, attorney for Parks Miller’s former paralegal Michelle Shutt, also filed papers Friday asking for dismissal of six counts of the suit, saying the goal was to “protect the integrity of the judicial system” by stopping the DA from an attempt “to use the judicial system to intimidate and silence a private individual who had the courage to testify against her.”
Shutt was the start of the investigation after coming forward with the allegations.
Yurchak took aim at Parks Miller’s veracity with claims from the complaint that Shutt’s accusations ruined an investigation into the potential murder-for-hire of a former assistant DA, claiming Parks Miller’s own testimony and writing showed the operation had ended.
She also claimed that Shutt was protected by Pennsylvania whistleblower law.
“It is essential to the ends of justice that witnesses like defendant Shutt continue to speak freely and fearlessly, without fear of consequences and retaliation,” Yurchak wrote.