Hearing for PSU cover-up defendants adjourned

Posted: December 19, 2013

HARRISBURG - After deciding not to hear testimony from a pivotal witness, the judge overseeing the case against three former Pennsylvania State University administrators charged with covering up reports of Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse adjourned a pretrial hearing Tuesday after just 20 minutes.

Further court action is unlikely to resume until early next year, said Elizabeth Ainslie, attorney for former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier, who was the only defendant to appear in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors have accused Spanier, ex-vice president Gary Schultz, and former athletic director Tim Curley of building a "conspiracy of silence" regarding allegations that Sandusky assaulted children. Charges against the three include perjury, obstruction of justice, and child endangerment.

On Tuesday, Dauphin County Court Judge Todd A. Hoover opted against hearing testimony from Penn State's former top lawyer, Cynthia Baldwin.

Baldwin was general counsel for the school in the early days of the Sandusky investigation. The former state Supreme Court justice accompanied the three administrators when each testified before the grand jury investigating Sandusky.

But later, she became a grand jury witness against them.

Attorneys said that for the time being, Hoover plans to rely on newly unsealed transcripts of Baldwin's testimony and other related documents to decide how the case will proceed.

Hoover has asked defense attorneys to file arguments detailing why they believe charges against them should be thrown out.

Defense attorneys have asked that Baldwin's testimony be barred from trial because she violated their clients' attorney-client privilege by cooperating with the state. They also have asked that the perjury charges be dismissed because the indictment was built using information that should have been protected under that privilege.

Baldwin's attorney, Charles De Monaco, has maintained that Baldwin is innocent of any ethical breaches.

"Cynthia Baldwin at all times fulfilled all her duties and obligations to Penn State University and to the agents and administrators of Penn State University," he said Tuesday after the court proceeding.

Ainslie said she was disappointed by Hoover's decision, but added that the legal complexities attendant to Baldwin's role were highly unusual and required close examination.

"I've been a lawyer for 40 years, and it's never happened," she said.

Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach, was convicted last year and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually assaulting 10 boys.


asteele@phillynews.com

610-313-8113 @AESteele

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