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Judge Orders Response to Spanier Demand for Email Records

by on September 11, 2014 5:10 PM

Prosecutors have been given a deadline to respond to Graham Spanier's request for access to email records linked to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

On Tuesday, Spanier's attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, filed a motion asking Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover to order the Attorney General's office to comply with Spanier's request for pre-trial discovery material.

Spanier, Penn State's former president, is facing trial on a number of charges including perjury, failing to report child endangerment and conspiracy along with two co-defendants, former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz. The three men allegedly tried to cover up the Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. All three have pleaded not guilty.

The discovery material that Spanier's attorney wants to see is a database of more than 20 million e-mails and other electronically stored documents. It was believed those documents had been deleted, but the Attorney General's office recovered the records during an internal review of the Sandusky criminal investigation.

"Until last fall, we believed that OAG e-mails for the relevant time period had been permanently removed from OAG storage systems (pursuant to a then-existing document-retention policy) and were unrecoverable. Since then, we have developed a recovery process that is ongoing," Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a prepared statement issued on Feb. 5.

Ainslie, along with attorneys for Curley and Schultz, filed requests for access to relevant documents in the recovered database base. However, Ainslie claims the Attorney General's Office has not followed up on those requests.

Ainslie says she received a letter from Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka on Sept. 4, which included three e-mail exchanges from the database. Ainslie says the response did not include a privilege log or other explanation for having withheld the documents nor an explanation for why the process took five months.

Ainslie is asking the Hoover to order the Attorney General's Office to release all relevant documents. On Thursday, Hoover signed an order giving the Attorney General's office 20 days to respond to that request.

Hoover is presiding over the case for Spanier, Curley and Schultz. The criminal proceeding is taking place in Dauphin County because that's where the grand jury met and where the charge of perjury allegedly occurred.

The Attorney General's Office has declined to comment on this latest motion, but sayx prosecutors will respond in court at a later date.

The recent filings are the first to be made public in several months. Since March, several court documents have been filed but all those were sealed.

It's been nearly two years since criminal charges were filed against Spanier, Curley and Schultz. A trial date has not been set.


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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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