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No Decisions Made After Attorneys for Curley and Schultz Fight Perjury Charge

by on August 16, 2012 12:08 PM

HARRISBURG – Judge Todd Hoover made no ruling Thursday after counsel for two former Penn State administrators sought the dismissal of perjury charges against their clients. 

Attorneys for former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, Caroline Roberto and Tom Farrell said during the hour-long hearing perjury charges should not be applied to cases where there is so much room for interpretation. 

"Are we talking about facts or are we talking about opinion," Roberto said. She said Curley never lied to a grand jury, but in fact told them his interpretation of what happened regarding reports of Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of boys.

Specifically, she cited the incident involving Mike McQueary, who said he told his superiors about an incident on Feb. 9, 2001, where he walked into the Lasch Football Building to see Sandusky abusing a boy in the shower.

The defense said Curley and Schultz did not interpret what McQueary told them as "sexual in nature," but rather "inappropriate conduct." Therefore, they did not lie to the grand jury because there was no precedent for what made an incident sexual.

"The fear is what will end up happening ... This will be a trial about whether Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz used proper judgement," Roberto said. "This is an unusual, unorthodox nature of what our clients are charged with. Can they even be charged with perjury?"

Roberto went on to say that a jury could decide simply, "We don't like how they're acting so we're going to convict them."

The death of former Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno was also used as a bargaining chip to dismiss the felony perjury charges, as Paterno can no longer corroborate any false statements in Curley's and Schultz's testimony. 

The defense argued that since McQueary's father, John McQueary, was not a primary witness to Sandusky's abuse, his testimony should have no bearing on their clients' testimonies. 

"Now that Mr. Paterno is gone, there is nothing to corroborate ... the Commonwealth is using John McQueary as really an afterthought to try and corroborate Mr. Curley's statements," Roberto said. 

Meanwhile, the defense did not discuss the summary charge of failure to report, as it will be rescheduled for a later date.

Before Sandusky went to trial, the Commonwealth amended the date when Mike McQueary reported seeing Sandusky abusing a boy in the shower from some time in 2002 to Feb. 1, 2001.

The nine-month time difference means the statue of limitations would have run out and Curley and Schultz would not have been able to be charged with failure to report.

Neither Curley or Schultz was in court Thursday, as was announced Wednesday. The defendants have not appeared in court since their preliminary hearing in December. Curley, who announced in January he is battling lung cancer, has made no public statements regarding the Freeh report.

Roberto only commented on Curley's condition as far as saying it is a private matter and that "it is being monitored."

Court adjourned around 10:30 a.m. Hoover could file an order in the coming days, further directing the course of the case, though no trial date has been set.

Earlier coverage: 

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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