Prosecutors ask court to deny Spanier request for more information

cpasssant@centredaily.comNovember 29, 2013 

State prosecutors are asking a judge to deny a request by the attorneys of former Penn State president Graham Spanier seeking a motion for a bill of particulars.

Spanier’s attorneys filed a request in late September seeking information they claim is necessary to build their client’s defense.

The request is a procedural part of the criminal case, and it could show what areas the defense attorneys will try to attack when the case is being tried.

Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz, who each are being tried for perjury and obstruction of justice, as well as child endangerment, conspiracy and failure to report abuse in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, all filed separate bills of particulars in September in Dauphin County Court.

Elizabeth Ainslie, a Spanier attorney, asked state prosecutors to identify each statement they say were lies when Spanier testified to a grand jury on April 13, 2011.

The response Wednesday filed against only Spanier by state Chief Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer in Harrisburg included 18 testimonial statements made by Spanier that the prosecution alleges are perjurious.

Specifically, Spanier testified he wouldn’t have interfered with police investigations and therefore wouldn’t necessarily know the “day-to-day activities” by police. He also testified that he didn’t know who the witness was who saw Sandusky involved in “horseplay” with a young boy in a university shower. Spanier also testified that to the best of his recollection, no one told him that former football coach Joe Paterno was notified of the shower incident, according to the court report.

Spanier, in the grand jury testimony, also denied any discussion about reporting the showering incident to police; that he received no information of prior allegations against Sundusky involving children; or that he’d ever been informed before 2011 regarding the showering incident or police investigation of the matter in 1998 regarding potential sexual misconduct, according to the court filing.

Spanier’s lawyers have argued in a preliminary hearing that the child endangerment count was too broad and could not apply to children who were not under university officials’ direct supervision.

For the obstruction count, the lawyers wanted the prosecution to spell out details such as the official duty their clients breached and the exact documents they had that authorities were after.

For the conspiracy counts, the lawyers wanted to know when the conspiracy started, how the men agreed not to inform law enforcement authorities or university officials about the allegations against Sandusky, and how they agreed to allegedly lie to the grand jury.

Beemer called the bill of particulars “ antiquated, largely rendering mootby present-day discovery rules, which serves a narrow purpose in the law.”

The deputy chief attorney general said Spanier has “the benefit of a comprehensive explanation of the offenses contained in the grand jury presentment.

He called the maneuver “wholly unnecessary.”

Follow Christopher Passante on Twitter @CPassanteCDT.

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