HARRISBURG -- A former Penn State University attorney will not have to testify this week in a pretrial hearing for three former PSU administrators accused of failing to tell authorities what they knew about Jerry Sandusky's crimes.
The hearing, which had been expected to last up to four days, instead took a brief 20 minutes Tuesday morning, when Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Todd Hoover said he would use documents and transcripts, rather than new witness testimony, at least for now.
Former university president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz are accused of crimes such as perjury, endangering the welfare of children, obstructing justice, conspiracy and failure to report suspected child abuse.
Sandusky was found guilty last year of 45 counts of child sex abuse; he is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years.
This week's hearing had been expected to address a key point of contention between the defense and the prosecution: the role of then-PSU general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, whom the men believed was acting as their attorney during 2011 appearances before a grand jury.
Ms. Baldwin, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, has since said she was representing Penn State.
"Our position has been that it is a breach of attorney-client privilege," said Elizabeth Ainslie, Mr. Spanier's attorney, speaking after Tuesday's hearing concluded.
Ms. Ainslie said attorneys for both sides will file arguments with the court on the matter and could be back in front of the judge within six weeks.
Mr. Spanier was in the courtroom Tuesday. The other two defendants were not there, although their attorneys were.
Ms. Baldwin's role has been at issue between the two sides in the case for months, but thus far the defendants have been unsuccessful in arguing that charges should be dismissed -- either because if Ms. Baldwin was representing them, her testimony violates attorney-client privilege or if she wasn't representing them, they were denied the right to an attorney.
"This court notes that Spanier, Curley and Schultz are 'highly educated' men who had positions of considerable influence at PSU as well as inferentially, knowledge about important evens that impact the reputation of the university; and it therefore strains credulity to infer that they were somehow deluded or misrepresented by attorney Baldwin," wrote Judge Barry Feudale in an April 9 opinion.
Ms. Baldwin's attorney, Charles De Monaco, said Tuesday, "She at all times fulfilled her duties to the university and its agents and administrators," adding any further comments would come in a courtroom rather than to the media.
Kate Giammarise: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-717-787-4254 or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.
Kate Giammarise: email@example.com or 717-787-4254. Twitter: @KateGiammarise. First Published December 17, 2013 3:22 PM