Attorneys File Slew of Sealed Documents in Spanier, Curley, Schultz Case
Attorneys have been filing a slew of documents in the criminal case against three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.
However, those documents are sealed and unavailable to the public.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz a number of charges including perjury, failing to report child endangerment and conspiracy. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Since those men were arrested in 2012, many legal documents have been made available to the public, which is routine in criminal cases. At the same time, some documents were initially sealed, but the court later unsealed them. Public documents have included grand jury testimony transcripts, motions for charges to be dismissed, and arguments against dismissal.
As first reported by the Associated Press, what is new this time is that over the last several months all parties involved – including the defendants' attorneys, the attorney general's office and the presiding judge – have filed a number of documents classified as sealed.
The last public filing in the case happened in March and since May there have been dozens of documents filed pertaining to all three defendants, all of which are sealed, according to the docket sheets made public through a state web-based system.
Jim Koval, spokesperson for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, said in an e-mail the matters remain sealed "pending disposition otherwise by the court." Koval also noted that fillings related to grand jury information are always sealed unless otherwise permitted by the supervising judge of the grand jury.
Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover is presiding over the case for Spanier, Curley and Schultz. The criminal proceeding is taking place in Dauphin County because that is where the grand jury met and where the charge of perjury allegedly occurred.
According to documents available to the public, the defendants have asked the court to throw out the charges claiming they have been unfairly prosecuted. At issue is the controversial role former Penn State General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin played in the grand jury proceedings.
Spanier, Curley, and Schultz say they thought Baldwin was their personal attorney and they believe her testimony violated attorney-client privilege therefore criminal charges should be dismissed and their grand jury testimonies suppressed from the criminal trial.
However, the attorney general's office argues Baldwin's testimony was not part of the evidence used to establish probable cause during the defendants' preliminary hearing and therefore the prosecution has a legitimate case.
Additionally, prosecutors argue the defendants' claim that Baldwin had a conflict of interest by representing both the defendants and the Penn State as an institution does not hold water. They argue that the defendants and Penn State shared interests.
The attorney general's office also argues any advice Baldwin provided the defendants would not have changed the outcome of the grand jury investigation, the defendants chose Baldwin as their counsel, and the presiding judge, Barry Feudale, advised defendants of their rights.
Spanier's attorney has also filed a federal lawsuit, which argues the attorney general's office violated Spanier's constitutional right to due process of law.
The suit specifically targets the tactics of former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina, who was lead prosecutor in the grand jury investigation, saying Fina used dishonesty to obtain Spanier's testimony. Spanier's attorney argues Fina allowed Spanier to testify before the grand jury after Baldwin said she represented Penn State as an institution, not Spanier individually.
While authorities charged Spanier, Curley and Schultz nearly two years ago, a trial date has yet to be set.
Defense attorneys, the attorney general's office, and Judge Hoover all either declined to comment or did not respond to a request for comment from StateCollege.com.