Former Penn State President Graham Spanier wants ‘unconstitutional’ travel restrictions lifted

mdawson@centredaily.comJuly 1, 2013 

The bail conditions holding back Graham Spanier from traveling abroad are “unconstitutional,” a lawyer for the former Penn State president said in a court motion asking a judge to lift the restrictions.

Spanier’s lawyer, Timothy Lewis, said his client has followed for the past six months the judge’s orders, which prohibit international travel and require advance itineraries of trips in the country. The lawyer argued there is no evidence that Spanier is a flight risk and said the judge’s order is in violation of the excessive bail clause of the Constitution.

“Dr. Spanier does not have substantial ties to any other state or nationality,” Lewis wrote. “That said, travel, both domestic and international, is a significant component of Dr. Spanier’s profession, and in order to comply with the travel restrictions, Dr. Spanier has had to decline to consider international speaking engagements that would have provided financial benefit or professional enhancement.”

Spanier is accused of obstruction of justice, perjury, conspiracy and other counts stemming from what former Attorney General Linda Kelly dubbed his and two other administrators’ “conspiracy of silence” to conceal abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky more than a decade ago.

As part of Spanier’s release, the judge made Spanier forfeit his passport and banned him from any trips outside the state.

Spanier’s lawyers asked that the travel orders be loosened, and the judge, William C. Wenner, relaxed only the domestic travel provision: Spanier had to provide an itinerary to the court five days before a trip would start.

The judge ordered Spanier to not have contact with any members of the university’s board of trustees or prosecution witnesses. The defense lawyers subsequently fought the no-contact order, and the judge removed it from the bail conditions.

Spanier’s legal team has moved for a dismissal of all the charges, arguing that the case was based on the illegal testimony of former university general counsel Cynthia Baldwin. The lawyers said Baldwin violated attorney-client privilege when she testified against Spanier.

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