Spanier's defense team says testimony from ex-general counsel inadmissible
The lawyers defending Graham Spanier have asked a judge to dismiss the charges against the former Penn State president, arguing that prosecutors' evidence in the obstruction and perjury case is based on illegally obtained grand jury testimony from the university's ex-general counsel.
The defense lawyers' latest salvo to dismantle the long-stalled case occurred by way of a motion last week to quash the criminal complaint, which accuses the former university president of conspiring to hide abuse allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky more than a decade ago.
The lawyers for Spanier accused ex-Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin of violating attorney-client privilege when she testified about her confidential discussions with Spanier when she went to the grand jury sometime last fall. She accompanied Spanier in 2011 when he went to the grand jury and even heard him testify.
Furthermore, Spanier's lawyers said Baldwin never alerted him that his colleagues Tim Curley, then the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, then an administrator, were targets of the investigation.
The lawyers for Spanier, Curley and Schultz have maintained that their clients are innocent. The men are awaiting a preliminary hearing on obstruction of justice and related charges.
“I believed that Ms. Baldwin was representing me during and in connection with the grand jury proceedings and that she was acting in my best interests,” Spanier said in a signed affidavit that accompanied his lawyer's legal motions.
According to the motion from Spanier's lawyers, Baldwin never told Spanier he had been subpoenaed to the grand jury, and he went voluntarily to Harrisburg to testify in April 2011.
The lawyers said Baldwin should have discerned that because she sat through their testimonies — an issue Curley's and Schultz's lawyers are challenging in court as well.
Spanier's legal team asked for the dismissal of the failure to report abuse and child endangerment counts, arguing that the statute of limitations had expired.
University of Pennsylvania law professor David Rudovsky said Baldwin should have known there was a conflict of interest by representing Penn State and Spanier. Rudovsky said Baldwin was “absolutely prohibited” from disclosing privileged conversations, regardless if she thought there was a crime involved.