Pennsylvania's highest court is revisiting a $3.5 million defamation verdict against The Citizens' Voice newspaper because of the role played in it by two former judges at the center of a juvenile justice scandal.
The state Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed a judge to examine the Wilkes-Barre newspaper's claim that corruption was involved in the handling of the lawsuit against it by a businessman and one of his companies. The court wants the judge to recommend whether a new trial is warranted.
The court's order says the newspaper has offered new evidence suggesting irregularities in how the case was handled because of the involvement of former Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) and Michael Conahan.
Ciavarella and Conahan have pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Prosecutors say they took kickbacks from private juvenile detention centers.