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Spanier Files New Request in Federal Court Asking to Have Criminal Charges Dismissed

by on May 07, 2014 4:40 PM

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier fires off another salvo in his battle against state prosecutors.

He's asking a federal judge to dismiss the case against him.

Spanier is facing numerous criminal charges in connection with his alleged role in what prosecutors claim was an attempt to cover up of the Sandusky scandal.

Spanier along with former Athletic Director Tim Curley, and retired Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz are charged with perjury, failing to report child endangerment and conspiracy.

The three men all say they believed they were represented by Penn State General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin during the grand jury investigation into the Sandusky case.

They claim Baldwin's testimony before the grand jury violated attorney-client privilege therefore criminal charges should be dismissed and their grand jury testimonies suppressed from any criminal trial.

In March, Spanier's criminal defense attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, filed suit against Attorney General Kathleen Kane in the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania. Kane, responded with her own motion in April, asking to have Spanier's complaint dismissed.

The Attorney General's office argues that any advice Baldwin provided the defendants would not have changed the outcome of the grand jury investigation. And if the defendants assumed Baldwin represented them individually, Kane's motion says the claim of an attorney-client privilege violation still does not exist due to a crime-fraud exception.

Spanier's latest motion, filed on Tuesday, asks federal Justice Yvette Kane to reject Kane's argument.

According to those legal papers, Spanier is seeking Federal relief "because the prosecution was undertaken in bad faith and without a reasonable expectation of obtaining a valid conviction." Spanier's objection says as a result of "the bad faith pervading this prosecution," his constitutional right to due process has been violated.

It goes on to attack lead prosecutor Frank Fina, describing Fina's actions as a "bad faith pursuit of the charges ... at any cost." The documents say Fina misled Spanier into believing he was represented by an attorney during his appearance before a grand jury "in order to obtain his uncounseled testimony."

Spanier's lawyers claim "This bad faith conduct is itself a constitutional violation that can only be remedied by termination of prosecution."

Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover is presiding over the case for Spanier, Curley and Schultz. No trial date has been set because legal motions are still being debated. If and when a trial is held it will take place in Dauphin County because that is where the grand jury met and where the charge of perjury allegedly occurred.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is serving 30-60 years in prison. He was convicted on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

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Steve Bauer is Managing Editor & Chief Content Officer at StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy. You can e-mail Steve at Steve.Bauer@StateCollege.com and you can follow him on Twitter @SteveBauerSCcom
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