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Louis Freeh Wants Spanier Lawsuit Moved to Federal Court

by on July 10, 2014 11:30 AM

Attorneys for former FBI director Louis Freeh are asking to have the defamation lawsuit brought by ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier tried in federal court.

If the request is granted, the case will be moved from Centre County to U.S. Middle District Court. The notice was filed Wednesday, nearly one year after Spanier served his intent to sue Freeh.

The defendant’s attorneys argued in the filing the case should be heard in federal court because Freeh is not a resident of Pennsylvania. His attorneys also wrote that the damages sought exceed the threshold of $75,000.

At Spanier’s request, a Centre County judge granted a stay in this lawsuit in February due to the former Penn State president’s looming criminal trial. Freeh appealed that decision to Pennsylvania’s Superior Court, which ruled it lacked jurisdiction.

Freeh’s attorneys have argued that Spanier should not have been given a stay in the case because he has yet to publicly state his defamation allegations against the former FBI director. At this point, Spanier has only filed his intent to sue.

The one-year deadline of Spanier’s filing has caused concern among Freeh’s lawyers. The defendant’s attorneys say the delay could cost Freeh the opportunity to move the case to federal court due to the deadline of July 11.

Freeh’s lawyers filed separate court documents Tuesday asking a judge to nullify the one-year time limit.

Spanier announced his intent to sue Freeh last summer after the former FBI director released a report paid for by the university. In the report, Freeh wrote Spanier was part of a conspiracy to cover up abuse allegations related to former football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 of 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years behind bars.

Spanier and two other top Penn State administrators are charged with perjury and failure to report abuse as a result of their handling of Sandusky allegations. The three have maintained their innocence through their attorneys and are awaiting trial.

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Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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