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PSU ex-officials accused of cover-up set for court

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 14, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — 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 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 about the hearing from The Associated Press over the past week.

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.

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