Three former Pennsylvania State University administrators, accused of ignoring or covering up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual attacks, renewed their bid Tuesday to have the criminal case against them dismissed or at least set back significantly.
At a hearing in Superior Court, lawyers for former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier and two others urged the three-judge panel to toss the charges or overrule a lower-court decision that for more than two years has snarled the case: whether the university’s former top lawyer can become the star witness against its longtime president and his codefendants.
Prosecutors contend former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin — who was present during the 2011 grand jury testimony of Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and Vice President Gary Schultz — should be allowed to provide allegedly incriminating information from conversations she had with them about Sandusky’s conduct and their responses to it.
The defendants’ lawyers have argued that the men did not realize Baldwin was representing the university, not them. Once they became targets of the investigation, the person they allegedly thought was their lawyer became a witness against them.
“Dual representation is a legal and ethical minefield, and I think this case is a perfect example of that,” Judge Mary Jane Bowes said.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Amy Zapp argued that it was clear Baldwin represented the men in their capacity as university staff, not as individuals. She also argued that when she sat with them during grand jury testimony in 2011, Baldwin had no idea the men would become targets of the investigation.
“Based on the information she had at the time, it appeared there was no conflict, no problem,” Zapp said.
They were charged in November 2012.
In her own grand jury testimony that year, Baldwin said the three administrators never disclosed the existence of emails they had shared relating to Sandusky’s contacts with boys in 1998 and 2001.
Spanier’s attorney, Jeffrey Wall, on Tuesday asked why Baldwin or the judge at the grand jury, Barry Feudale, did not alert the three men to the possibility that their interests and the university’s could ultimately diverge.
“It should have thrown up red flags,” Wall said.
Neither Baldwin nor the defendants attended the hearing, which lasted about 90 minutes. The Superior Court panel offered no clues on when it might rule.
Briefs Courtesy of Tribune News Service