The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

December 14, 2013

Penn State officials set for court

HARRISBURG — Three former Penn State officials accused of covering up child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky are expected to argue in court this week that their right to legal representation was violated when they appeared before an investigative grand jury more than two years ago.

The pretrial hearing, which starts Tuesday before Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover in Harrisburg, will address claims by the three that their charges should be dismissed as a result.

Criminal charges were first filed two years ago against Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz. That was followed by more charges last year, aided in part by email traffic uncovered by Penn State during its own review of the Sandusky matter, and for the first time prosecutors charged former President Graham Spanier.

The three are charged with perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, child endangerment and failure to properly report suspected child abuse. Their lawyers did not return messages seeking comment.

The hearing will focus on Cynthia Baldwin, who accompanied the men when they testified before the secret panel in 2011. Baldwin at the time was the university’s chief counsel, and defense attorneys have questioned who she was representing and whether she should have been allowed inside the grand jury room.

Baldwin also later testified against them, giving information that was used in the grand jury report filed with the charges against Spanier and the additional charges against Curley and Schultz. Defense lawyers have objected strenuously to Baldwin’s cooperation with investigators.

In a court filing two months ago, for example, Spanier’s lawyers called Baldwin’s conduct egregious and said she violated rules that protect confidentiality of lawyer-client relations and a lawyer’s work product.

Spanier asked the judge for a transcript of Baldwin’s grand jury testimony, information about Baldwin, attorney-client privilege and work product protection, and any immunity deal she may have been granted. Court records do not indicate a response from Hoover to those requests.

The state Supreme Court in June declined to take up a sealed appeal in which Curley and Schultz raised Baldwin-related claims, but the justices said in their one-sentence order that the defendants could raise their objections in front of Hoover.

Judge Barry Feudale, who ran the grand jury, had earlier ruled he did not have the authority to throw out the charges.

Feudale also said in a written opinion that he believed Curley, Schultz and Spanier were stalling for time.

“In this court’s view, defendants’ various motions, appeals and assertions (all of which are within their rights) are an attempt to delay the case from being heard before the proper tribunals,” Feudale wrote in a May court order.

In response to questions about the scope of this week’s hearing, a court system spokesman said Hoover would take testimony “on the issue of representation in related grand jury matters.”

Baldwin’s lawyer, Charles De Monaco, said last week he wasn’t sure whether Baldwin would participate in the hearing.

He also referred to a statement he issued a year ago that said Baldwin “at all times fulfilled her obligations to the university and its agents.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • PennDOT contractor arraigned on $3.6M theft charge

    A Department of Transportation contractor stole $3.6 million in public funds by billing the state for work that was never done, state prosecutors said Thursday in what they described as an ongoing corruption probe of PennDOT’s southeastern Pennsylvania district.

    July 31, 2014

  • Police: Women stole thousands from elderly sisters, used money to show St. Bernards

    Two western Pennsylvania women have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from two elderly sisters and using the money to attend dog shows.

    July 29, 2014

  • Intervening neighbor’s death now ruled homicide

    The Allegheny County medical examiner says a neighbor who died after he intervened in a fight between a couple next door is the victim of homicide.

    July 29, 2014

  • Housing police: Naked women slashes 3 in melee

    Allegheny County Housing Authority police were trying to identify a naked woman who allegedly slashed or stabbed three other women in an apparent lovers’ quarrel at a public housing complex.

    July 29, 2014

  • Police: Rescued boys never mentioned drowned teen

    Police say two teens who were rescued from a jetty in Presque Isle Bay in Erie last week, and two others who were with them, never mentioned a fifth boy who drowned and whose body wasn’t found until Saturday.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • State briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport.

    July 28, 2014

Poll

Do you think pet obituaries should be included with death notices?

Yes, my pet is considered a member of the family.
No, pet obituaries are inappropriate.
Pet obituaries should be placed on a different page in the newspaper.
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads