Pre-Trial Hearing for Spanier, Curley and Schultz Ends, Judge Refuses to Hear Any Testimony
The long-awaited pre-trial hearing for Graham Spanier, Tim Curly and Gary Schultz came to an unexpectedly fast conclusion in Harrisburg Tuesday morning.
The hearing was scheduled to last up to four days, but it was over in minutes.
The judge decided that former Penn State Counsel Cynthia Baldwin and other witnesses did not need to testify during the hearing for the trio of former Penn State administrators.
The hearing was held before Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover. Spanier was present. Schultz and Curley waived their appearance, however, their attorneys were in the courtroom.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz are accused of trying to cover up the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. They face multiple charges, including perjury and failing to report child abuse.
All three men say they are innocent and will vigorously defend themselves in court.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator was convicted and sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for sexually abusing boys.
During the public hearing, Hoover decided that testimony -- including that of Baldwin as well as legal experts -- was not necessary for him to move forward with decisions on several issues before him.
Instead, he said he would review grand jury transcripts and other related documents, including internal letters among attorneys.
Some of the matters before the judge include motions filed by defense attorneys to dismiss charges and preclude Baldwin from testifying at trial.
A motion filed Nov. 21 by Curley's attorney, Caroline Roberto, asks to dismiss the charges, suppress Curley's Jan. 12, 2011 grand jury testimony and order an evidentiary hearing so Curley can submit expert testimony regarding court testimony by Baldwin.
At issue is Baldwin's role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and whether her testimony before the grand jury violated attorney-client priviledge. Curley and Schultz say they believed she was representing them. Baldwin claims she was representing Penn State and not those men.
Defense attorneys issued a subpoena for Baldwin to testify at the hearing which the judge essentially threw out.
Baldwin's attorney, Charles DeMonaco, told the media after the hearing that his client "fulfilled all of her duties to Penn State University and its agents and its administrators."
DeMonaco declined to discuss the case further.
"These issues need to play out in the courtroom," he said multiple times in response to reporters' questions.
Spanier's attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, told the news media after the proceeding that the issue related to Baldwin's role in the case is one she's never seen before.
"I've been a lawyer for 40 years and it's never happened in my experience ... and it's very complicated," she said. "I have no idea what was on her (Baldwin's) mind."
As for Spanier, she said he is "very distressed" over the drawn out court proceedings related to the criminal charges. At the same time, she said Spanier understands the case is complicated.
"He would like to have it under way in the correct way," she said.
Until last week, Ainslie said she expected to have a lengthy pre-trial hearing with testimony. However, she said she understands as "this is a complicated case for the judge."
The next step is for attorneys to file proposed finding of facts and conclusions of law with the judge, who will reach decisions based on the documents.
A trial was expected to begin sometime next spring. It's unclear whether that will happen in light of today's developments.