An officer of the MIT fraternity where an Orchard Park, N.Y., freshman pledge fell into a fatal alcohol-induced coma won't be held in contempt of court for refusing to turn over financial records to a grand jury.
Last week, a Suffolk Superior Court judge told Phi Gamma Delta Treasurer Daniel Herman he would be held in contempt if he did not produce the fraternity's financial records dating back to 1990.
Herman's lawyer appealed, arguing the order would violate his client's constitutional right against self-incrimination. Attorney Alan M. Spiro argued that if Herman released the documents, the information could help prosecutors build a case against his 21-year-old client for involuntary manslaughter.
Appeals Court Judge Mel Greenberg threw out the lower court's order against Herman Thursday.
The case centers on the death of 18-year-old Scott Krueger, a freshman pledge from Orchard Park.
Krueger, who reportedly attended a party for new pledges, was found unconscious in his basement fraternity room Sept. 27, surrounded by empty bottles of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .410, more than four times the state's legal limit for drunken driving.
A grand jury has been investigating the case since October.
Since Krueger's death, two other MIT fraternities -- Theta Chi and Sigma Phi Epsilon -- have also been disciplined for serving alcohol to minors.