Penn State defendants want to bar one-time counsel's testimony
HARRISBURG — A new defense filing argues that Penn State's former chief counsel should not be allowed to testify next month about what two former high-ranking administrators told her regarding the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Attorneys for former athletic director Tim Curley and retired university vice president Gary Schultz asked a judge to prohibit testimony by Cynthia Baldwin of McKeesport — about what they describe as “privileged communications” — when the men face a preliminary hearing Dec. 13.
Baldwin's role was also the focus of pretrial motions filed three weeks ago by Curley and Schultz, shortly before prosecutors added new charges and criminal allegations against their onetime boss, former Penn State President Graham Spanier.
At issue is whether Baldwin, a former Allegheny County judge and state Supreme Court justice, was acting as their lawyer when the three men met with prosecutors and then testified before a grand jury about their actions in response to complaints that Sandusky had acted inappropriately with boys in school showers in 1998 and 2001.
Lawyers for Curley and Schultz wrote, in the document filed late Tuesday in Dauphin County court, that state law requires the judge “to exclude the testimony of Ms. Baldwin in criminal proceedings against her former clients, Curley and Schultz. In the absence of a waiver by the client, an attorney is barred from testifying, in a criminal matter, regarding statements that the client made to the attorney in confidence.”
The Attorney General's Office last week said it was not aware of any conflict of interest on Baldwin's part and therefore had no reason to raise the issue before the judge who supervised the secret grand jury. Prosecutors argued that representing multiple clients does not necessarily mean a lawyer has a conflict.
“Based on their interviews prior to testifying, it appeared that the defendants intended to cooperate in the investigation,” prosecutors wrote in a Nov. 14 filing. “That the defendants actually intended to mislead the grand jury and the commonwealth would not alter the fact that, at the time they were represented by attorney Baldwin, there was no conflict of interest.”
A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office declined to comment further.
Baldwin's lawyer, Charles DeMonaco, issued a statement this summer that said she “at all times fulfilled her obligations to the university and its agents.” DeMonaco said on Wednesday that he had not seen the request to preclude her testimony.
On Wednesday, the judge presiding over Sandusky's criminal case granted a television network's request for access to photos used as exhibits during his trial.
Judge John Cleland issued an order that gave ABC the right to get copies of 15 photographs related to Aaron Fisher, described as Victim 1 in court records.
ABC had sought the photos last month as it was preparing to report on Fisher's book about his experience, “Silent No More.”
Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of 10 boys.
Curley and Schultz are seeking to delay their January trial on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. The December preliminary hearing involves the additional charges the two men face of conspiracy, obstruction and endangering a child's welfare.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- Former pitcher Allie happily adjusting to outfield
- Pirates chase Mets’ Harvey early in rout
- Coroners, organ harvesting group spar over procurement process
- Ex-Baldwin, Pitt star Pinkston not giving up on NFL dream
- Hempfield train crash search called off; no evidence found
- Rossi: Days off are when Pirates’ starters begin winning formula
- Biertempfel: Despite Marte’s inconsistency, Pirates’ Hurdle keeping faith
- Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
- Unquestionable courage & sacrifice
- Book details secret to Pirates’ turnaround