Sealed Fifth Presentment Reaches 44 Months

Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2018 by Pezzonovante in Labels: , , ,

Today, 08/12/2018, marks the 44-month anniversary of the Order by Presiding Judge Steve P. Leskinen to accept and to seal the Fifth Presentment issued by Fayette County Grand Jury No. 2.

Since 12/12/2014, for 44 months, or for three years, eight months, or for an unheard of 1,340 days, the Fifth Presentment has remained sealed, and curiously, astute readers will note, the Unified Judicial System database lists the grand jury docket as active, not closed, although jurors were dismissed 44 months ago!  

Investigating grand jury presentments are normally not sealed.  A sealed presentment usually means the target’s whereabouts is not known or a subject has yet to be apprehended. Moreover, the investigating grand jury statute contains language that logically contemplates the eventual unsealing of a sealed presentment.

42 Pa.C.S.A. § 4551:   Title 42 § 4551(b)   Sealed presentment.--The supervising judge to whom a presentment is submitted may, on his own motion or at the request of the Commonwealth, direct that the presentment be kept secret until the defendant is in custody or has been released pending trial. In directing that the presentment be kept secret, the supervising judge shall enter an order requiring that the presentment be sealed and that no person shall disclose a return of the presentment except when necessary for issuance and execution of process.  [Emphasis added.]

The reason why the length of time we are dealing with on the Fifth Presentment is so unusual is because, in law, there exist time limitations by which time criminal charges must be brought, or the person alleged to have committed a crime cannot be charged.

For example, during the May 24, 2012, meeting of the Fayette County Election Board, Michael J. Cavanagh and then-State Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney traded allegations of election fraud.

See:  Allegations of election impropriety leveled by Mahoney and Cavanagh, Herald-Standard May 25, 2012

See also:  Fayette grand jury may probe vote fraud, Tribune-Review, May 24, 2012

This space has covered extensively (including in the last installment) the allegations and the evidence against Mahoney.  We now turn to the allegations and evidence presented by Mahoney against Michael J. Cavanagh.
At the May 24, 2012, meeting of the Fayette County Election Board, Mahoney leveled charges of forgery against Cavanagh pertaining to signatures on Cavanagh’s nominating petitions from Primary 2012 where Cavanagh made an unsuccessful bid against Mahoney for state representative.  Mahoney had hired a private detective to investigate the signatures and presented signed, sworn affidavits from 27 individuals who attested they did not sign Cavanagh’s nominating petitions.
As Cavanagh filed the petitions with the state on February 16, 2012, and since the time limitation on forgery in Pennsylvania is five years from the date of the alleged crime, a prosecution would have had to commence by February 16, 2017, or Cavanagh could not be prosecuted on the charges.  Obviously, it is 2018, and Michael J. Cavanagh was never prosecuted on the Mahoney allegations of election fraud.

Did the Fayette County Election Board referral against Cavanagh result in an investigation?  Did then-Fayette County District Attorney Jack R. Heneks, Jr. pursue the matter with the investigating grand jury?  Did the grand jury issue a presentment against Michael J. Cavanagh, and if so, did Presiding Judge Steve P. Leskinen issue an order to seal it?  In other words, was Michael J. Cavanagh the subject of the sealed Fifth Presentment?  

If Cavanagh was the subject of the sealed Fifth Presentment, why was the presentment never unsealed and the case prosecuted?  Was it to cover up the non-investigation of the Third Referral against Mahoney?  Even if Cavanagh was not the subject, again, why has the Fifth Presentment remained sealed for 44 months?

As Fayette Countians paid for that county investigating grand jury, the citizens of this county deserve answers from current Fayette County District Attorney Richard E. Bower on why he has not asked Judge Steve P. Leskinen to unseal the Fifth Presentment and why no formal charges ever resulted from it.  More directly, Judge Steve P. Leskinen must be held to account for the lengthy sealing of the Fifth Presentment.

In light of the fact that suspicious circumstances surrounding outright election law violations have arisen once again in Fayette County in the case of Fairgate, it is high time and long overdue for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General to investigate why the sealed Fifth Presentment has remained sealed for so long and whether grand jury secrecy has been used to cover up the non-investigation/non-prosecution of alleged election frauds in Fayette County.

A copy of the link to this article has been sent by fax to First Deputy Attorney General Michelle A. Henry.

Update 2:  If you would like to exercise (respectfully) your First Amendment right to petition your government for a redress of grievances and have it perform its duties to investigate alleged election frauds, perjuries, and public corruption in Fayette County, you possess the right and the power to let the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General know that you expect it to perform its duties under the law and the constitution and in accordance with the office's own Code of Conduct and with the Oath of Office sworn by its officers.

Phone:  717-787-3391
Fax:       717-783-1107

Update 3:  Anyone with an e-mail account can send a three-page fax for free at,