Judge Testifies in Lackawanna Family Court Probe

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SCRANTON -- Lackawanna County's President Judge testified before a Federal Grand Jury.

Judge Tom Munley's appearance came 10 days after the indictment of Danielle Ross.  Ross is the former Guardian ad Litem, the lawyer assigned to represent the interests of children in Family Court custody cases.

Sources said Judge Munley is a witness, not a target of the federal investigation into Lackawanna County Family Court.

Court documents show the feds appear interested in information about the firings of two Family Court Clerks in 2011. The two were fired just weeks after the feds opened the investigation into Danielle Ross, an investigation that earlier this month led her indictment on federal tax fraud.

The investigation into Ross was already underway in October 2011, that's when family court clerks Judy Lettieri and Patty Reider received subpoenas to testify before a Federal Grand Jury.

Four days after Lettieri and Reider received those subpoenas, Lackawanna County Court Administrator Ron Mackay fired the women.

In their termination letters, Mackay stated that Judge Munley concurred with the firings.

Judge Munley was on vacation when the clerks were fired, and two weeks later, when he returned, the judge wrote that the firings happened "without his authority."

He called the firings, "inappropriate" and restored Lettieri and Reider to work with back pay.

Sources said federal prosecutors want Judge Munley's testimony to help determine if the firings of the two Lackawanna County Family Court Clerks warrant criminal charges that could include intimidating witnesses or obstructing justice.

Newswatch 16 could not reach Judge Munley at his chambers for comment about the case. Lackawanna County Court Administrator Ron Mackay told us he cannot comment.

The federal investigation into Lackawanna County's family court system is continuing.