In the months before Cynthia Baldwin told an investigating grand jury that former Penn State University President Graham Spanier was not a person of integrity, she told federal investigators conducting a security clearance on him the exact opposite.
"[Spanier] is a bright man. A very smart man, a man of integrity," a report shows Ms. Baldwin described Mr. Spanier in the spring of 2012. "Subject is very forthcoming and open with the PSU Board of Trustees. Source trusts subject. ... Source trusts subject's judgment, to include the protected privileged period."
Attorneys for Mr. Spanier say those words show Ms. Baldwin's about-face, calling into question her entire body of testimony before the grand jury, released last week,
"We believe this chronology -- showing Cynthia Baldwin's remarkable flip-flop -- speaks for itself," said Elizabeth Ainslie, who represents Mr. Spanier on criminal charges, including perjury, endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy stemming from the cover-up of child sex abuse by former football coach Jerry Sandusky. Two other former top administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, also are charged.
But Ms. Baldwin's attorneys on Saturday said there was no flip-flop.
"Cynthia Baldwin, as evidenced by her distinguished career and her impeccable reputation, is a person of the highest integrity," Charles DeMonaco said. "The suggestion by anyone that Ms. Baldwin did not fulfill her ethical and professional duties to The Pennsylvania State University and its agents and administrators, or testified untruthfully, is untrue."
Instead, he continued, Ms. Baldwin's opinion of Mr. Spanier offered to the Federal Investigative Service on behalf of the Department of Defense -- with whom Mr. Spanier served in an advisory post -- changed over the course of the investigation as new and more information was revealed.
"Much like the public at large, Justice Baldwin learned for the first time in the summer of 2012 about the conduct of the defendants as a result of documents and emails which were discussed for the first time with the release of the Freeh Report in July 2012," Mr. DeMonaco said.
Individual instances which may have troubled Ms. Baldwin -- for instance, that Mr. Spanier failed to keep the Board of Trustees informed about the Sandusky grand jury investigation -- at the time they occurred, her attorneys said, were in a vacuum.
"There are events you can't really explain and understand ... and when the Freeh report came out, and Dr. Spanier went on his speaking tour, I think that's when the light bulb went off," said Robert Tintner, another of Ms. Baldwin's lawyers.
According to the grand jury testimony, Ms. Baldwin was asked extensively about interviews and statements made by Mr. Spanier in the summer and fall of 2012.
"Based upon what you know now, what can you tell us about Spanier's representations to you through this lengthy period of the investigation?" asked Frank Fina, one of the attorney general's prosecutors.
"That he is -- that he is not a person of integrity. He lied to me," Ms. Baldwin answered. "I can't get inside his mind, but the fact is that there is no doubt that he lied to me. I can't think of any reason, other reason for lying than trying to hide it from me."
In her statement, Ms. Ainslie called Ms. Baldwin's grand jury testimony "shamefully inaccurate."
"Ms. Baldwin's testimony was, we believe, created in large part by her own fear of prosecution," Ms. Ainslie said.
She pointed out Ms. Baldwin signed a proffer letter, guaranteeing that nothing she said could be used against her, but that she could still be prosecuted.
But Mr. DeMonaco noted his client has never been a target of the investigation, that she testified pursuant to a subpoena and that she was not given immunity for her testimony.
"She did everything right," he said. "What she did was proper."
"The public should be aware that Justice Baldwin's testimony is not the focus of the legal issues at trial. Justice Baldwin is not a party to these criminal proceedings, and she has not been charged with any crime. Contrary to the positions of the defendants, any testimony by Justice Baldwin will have no impact upon the very serious charges of endangering the welfare of children, failure to report, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy that have been brought against the defendants."
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.