Attorney General Kane confident of case vs. former Penn State leaders

mdawson@centredaily.comJuly 31, 2013 

The Attorney General’s Office is “ready to go” in prosecuting the perjury and obstruction of justice case against Penn State’s former president and two administrators, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Wednesday, a day after the three men were ordered to stand trial.

“We certainly have more evidence than we put on at the preliminary hearing,” she said during an interview with the Centre Daily Times. “We’re looking forward to trial.”

Kane said the prosecution presented “document-heavy” evidence during the two-day preliminary hearing for Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz. Those documents include printouts of emails from 1998 and 2001 in which they discussed separate incidents involving Jerry Sandusky in campus locker room showers, a bill from 2001 showing Schultz consulted with a lawyer about suspected child abuse and hand-written notes Schultz took after learning of the 1998 incident.

“We didn’t want it to be opinion or a free-for-all,” said Kane, who did not attend the preliminary hearing and whose prosecution team did not make any public comments after the proceeding Tuesday.

Kane’s prosecutor, Bruce Beemer, also offered testimony from several Penn State employees to support the charges. He called two of Schultz’s previous administrative assistants, a Penn State spokeswoman and an information technology specialist.

The defense attorneys, who have maintained their clients’ innocence, unsuccessfully asked District Judge William Wenner to dismiss the charges because of a lack of evidence.

In the interview, Kane declined to touch on many topics related to the hot-button Spanier, Curley and Schultz case. That’s the norm of most prosecutors in the middle of any case, not just ones that are of public interest.

She expects Mike McQueary to be a prosecution witness. He testified Monday about reporting the 2001 incident to Curley and offered new insight that late coach Joe Paterno thought Old Main administrators mishandled the incident. His testimony reignited the debate over his credibility, as the defense lawyers questioned why this new information emerged, but Kane said she’s forbidden from discussing a potential witness’s credibility.

Kane couldn’t say how another piece of the scandal puzzle, former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, will factor into the trial. Defense lawyers contend that Baldwin double-crossed their clients when she heard their individual testimonies at the grand jury in 2011 and later testified against them to the grand jury.

Kane said that matter will be litigated during a hearing in October, but it’s her office’s position that the questions surrounding Baldwin will not “make a difference” in their case.

Kane wouldn’t say if anyone in the case other than a former administrative assistant of Schultz’s had been given immunity. The assistant, Kimberly Belcher, was given immunity in exchange for her testimony, and she said on the stand that it was her idea to take a confidential Sandusky file, which included the hand-written notes from 1998, to Schultz, not his.

If anyone is given immunity, it won’t come up until he or she testifies.

“We don’t go offering immunity lightly,” Kane said.

Kane, a Democrat, won the race for attorney general in a landslide, and one of her campaign platforms was a closer look at the investigation into Sandusky, which began under then-Attorney General Tom Corbett in 2009. Kane appointed a special prosecutor, H. Geoffrey Moulton, to head the investigation.

“I don’t believe that the public feels that they got all the facts,” Kane said.

Kane refused to give a timetable for the completion of Moulton’s investigation, saying only that it is “proceeding very well” and that Moulton is working full time on it.

It will be over only when there are no questions left unanswered, she said.

“We were trained to look at the details, so I think when the question in our minds are answered, I’m pretty confident the question in everyone’s mind will be answered,” Kane said.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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