Attorneys representing former Penn State University president Graham Spanier, who has been charged with perjury in connection with the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse investigation, asked a judge today to toss out the charges against him.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Spanier, 64, with perjury, obstruction of justice and endangering the welfare of children earlier this month, saying he and other administrators were part of a "conspiracy of silence" aimed at covering up accusations that Sandusky sexually abused boys over a 15-year period.
His arguments, like those presented by former senior vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz and suspended athletic director Tim Curley in their cases, hinge largely upon the role played by Cynthia Baldwin, who was general counsel for the university during the grand jury investigation.
Attorneys representing Mr. Spanier, Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz have said their clients believed Ms. Baldwin was representing them, but she later told investigators from the group led by former FBI director Louis Freeh that she was representing the university.
In the motion filed today, Mr. Spanier's lawyers argue that if Ms. Baldwin was representing Mr. Spanier, her testimony, which the grand jury presentment says prosecutors relied upon, would violate attorney-client privilege. If she was not representing Mr. Spanier, the charges should be thrown out because Mr. Spanier was denied his right to an attorney, mistakenly believing that he already had one, his attorneys argue.
Lawyers representing Mr. Spanier also filed a motion today asking the judge to postpone Mr. Spanier's Dec. 13 preliminary hearing, saying that they would like to have time to file appeals if their requests regarding Ms. Baldwin's testimony are denied.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.