MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Gov. Tom Corbett this morning dismissed claims from lawyers for former Penn State president Graham Spanier that the criminal charges filed against him Thursday are politically motivated.
The longtime university president, who resigned last November after assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing children, was charged Thursday with eight criminal counts, including perjury, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and failure to report suspected child abuse.
Attorneys representing Mr. Spanier responded in a lengthy statement claiming the charges were a "desperate act" by a "vindictive and politically motivated" governor to conceal his own failure to stop Mr. Sandusky sooner.
Mr. Corbett, who was attorney general when the Sandusky investigation began, dismissed those accusations when questioned by reporters at an appearance this morning.
"Defense attorneys are paid by their client to speak on their behalf, and I hope they're getting paid well," he said. "Their comments are typical of what we've seen over the years."
He pointed to the so-called Bonusgate public corruption cases prosecuted during his tenure as attorney general.
"The attorneys said pretty much the same thing: It's politically motivated," Mr. Corbett said. "No it's not. It's a search for the truth. It's a search for justice."
Prosecutors Thursday also announced new charges against former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who were charged last November alongside Sandusky. The two men will be arraigned this afternoon in Harrisburg. Mr. Spanier's arraignment is scheduled for next week.
Mr. Corbett deflected a question about how the charges reflect on an investigation he oversaw before becoming governor.
"I don't think my personal opinion matters in this," he said. "I think the facts matter. I think the protection of children particularly matters, and I think the actions of officials or the lack of actions of officials matter. And that will all be decided in the courtroom."
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141.