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Reason debated for former Penn State lawyer Baldwin's about-face

| Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A lawyer for former Penn State University President Graham Spanier claims that the school's former top lawyer changed her story about Spanier in 2012 to avoid prosecution in the child sex abuse cover-up case that has ensnared him and two other former university officials.

Cynthia Baldwin's lawyer denied the allegation and said the former state Supreme Court justice and university trustee changed her mind about Spanier based on new evidence uncovered by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who conducted an investigation at the university's request.

Baldwin referred to Spanier as a “man of integrity” during a federal security clearance background investigation in the spring of 2012, said Elizabeth K. Ainslie, a Philadelphia attorney who represents him.

But Baldwin told the grand jury investigating Spanier in October that he had lied to her and the 2011 grand jury investigating Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, on child sex abuse charges, according to a transcript of Baldwin's testimony.

Ainslie said Baldwin met with state investigators on Oct. 19, 2012, and signed a letter allowing her to talk with them without having her statements used against her.

“A week later, Ms. Baldwin went into the grand jury, without Dr. Spanier's knowledge, and testified against him,” Ainslie said. “We believe this chronology — showing Cynthia Baldwin's remarkable flip-flop — speaks for itself,”

Six days after Baldwin's testimony, state prosecutors charged Spanier and the two others with helping cover up complaints about Sandusky, who was convicted of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, often on Penn State property.

Baldwin's lawyer, Charles De Monaco, Downtown, said Baldwin did not know in the spring of 2012 about how Spanier had handled reports about Sandusky.

“Much like the public at large, Justice Baldwin learned for the first time in the summer of 2012 about the conduct of the defendants as a result of documents and e-mails which were discussed for the first time with the release of the Freeh Report in July 2012,” he said.

De Monaco said the letter signed by Baldwin is one routinely signed by witnesses before they talk to investigators. The grand jury subpoenaed Baldwin, and she testified without any grant of immunity, he said.

In addition to Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz are fighting charges of child endangerment, conspiracy, obstruction and perjury.

Tom Farrell, the Downtown attorney representing Schultz, declined to comment. Caroline Roberto, the Downtown attorney representing Curley, could not be reached.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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