Spanier asks federal court to end case

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The former president of Penn State University filed a federal complaint against the state attorney general Monday seeking a halt to his criminal case.

The complaint, filed by Graham Spanier and requesting an injunction, was filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

The filing alleges that Mr. Spanier's prosecution "was undertaken in bad faith and without a reasonable expectation of obtaining a valid conviction."

It also claims due process violations.

A spokesman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the complaint is being reviewed by the office.

Mr. Spanier is charged, along with former athletic director Tim Curley and vice president of finance Gary Schultz, with conspiring to cover up sex abuse by former football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty in 2012 and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

The criminal case against the school administrators is pending in Dauphin County court.

Mr. Spanier is charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, failing to report child abuse, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child.

The complaint, filed by attorney Elizabeth Ainslie, alleges misconduct by the former lead prosecutor in the case, Frank Fina. Mr. Fina, who joined the AG's office as a deputy attorney in 2002, left in January 2013 as the chief deputy attorney general of criminal prosecution.

He currently works for the Philadelphia district attorney's office.

According to Mr. Spanier's complaint, he testified before the grand jury in April 2011 and said that he was represented by Cynthia Baldwin, then chief counsel for Penn State.

But, the complaint said, Mr. Fina had just minutes before heard Ms. Baldwin tell the grand jury judge that "she did not represent Spanier in that forum, only the university."

"Fina said nothing to correct Spanier's statement and thereby to alert Spanier to the fact that Baldwin was not serving as his lawyer, but instead continued his questioning of Spanier," the complaint said. "Fina thus deliberately obtained uncounselled testimony from Spanier,"

Ms. Ainslie wrote that the perjury charge filed by the AG is therefore "based on Fina's deception ... and on Fina's blatant violation of Spanier's attorney-client privilege."

Ms. Ainslie said that "infected perjury charge" is "the linchpin of all of the charges that Fina brought against Spanier, [and therefore] all of the charges are likewise infected by Fina's bad faith."


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.

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