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Judge Denies Emergency Motion to Reconsider Delaying Spanier's Lawsuit Against Freeh

by on March 19, 2014 3:16 PM

A judge denied Louis Freeh's emergency motion to reconsider the court's decision to delay former Penn State President Graham Spanier's lawsuit against Freeh.

Judge Jonathan Grine agreed last month to delay the civil lawsuit Spanier filed against Freeh last October until the resolution of Spanier's criminal case related to an alleged cover up of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

Freeh's attorney, Robert Heim of Philadelphia, filed an emergency motion Monday asking the judge to reconsider his decision to delay the case. The judge denied the request Tuesday without a hearing.

Penn State hired Freeh, former FBI director, to investigate the handling of the Sandusky scandal. Spanier claims he was defamed in the subsequent Freeh Report, which found that senior Penn State administrators intentionally covered up Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse.

In his report, Freeh says Spanier and others, "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, [PSU's] Board of Trustees, the Penn State community and the public at large."

Spanier's attorneys claim those allegations are both false and defamatory. They are asking for monetary damages. After filing the lawsuit against Freeh, Spanier asked the court to delay the proceedings until after his criminal case is completed.

Spanier and two other former Penn State administrators face several criminal charges including perjury, failing to report child endangerment and conspiracy related to the alleged Sandusky cover up.

Grine ruled in Spanier's favor last month, saying "There is a substantial risk that ... any or all of these individuals could invoke their Fifth Amendment rights during the civil action and refuse to participate in the discovery process (of the lawsuit)."

Freeh made an unsuccessful attempt Monday to convince Grine to reconsider that decision. Specifically, Heim argued Freeh and his firm could lose the right to request the case be moved to a federal court due to mandated deadlines.

"Defendants are thus unfairly between the classic 'rock and a hard place,'" Heim writes.

Additionally, Heim argues it could be years before Spanier's criminal case is resolved, further delaying the civil case.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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