A federal judge won’t intervene in ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier’s criminal prosecution on charges stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Judge Yvette Kane on Friday dismissed Spanier’s attempt to stop his criminal case on charges that he failed to report child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and later lied to an investigating grand jury.
Spanier filed an injunction in March asking the federal court to get involved and alleging that state prosecutors violated his due-process rights through the grand jury investigation that led to charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, failure to report abuse and child endangerment.
The state Attorney General’s Office fired back a month later, arguing that Spanier’s attorneys failed to give an adequate reason the federal court should get involved and asking the federal judge to dismiss the case.
Kane sided with state prosecutors and on Friday granted their motion to dismiss Spanier’s complaint.
The judge wrote in her ruling that the federal courts are prohibited from interfering in state prosecutions in “all but the most extraordinary of cases,” and that Spanier’s prosecutorial misconduct claims can be heard and resolved in state court.
In the lawsuit, Spanier’s attorneys accused prosecutors of acting in “bad faith” when they brought Spanier to testify to the grand jury in April 2011.
The attorneys said Spanier never knew he was a target of the grand jury’s investigation and that he thought Cynthia Baldwin, who was then the university’s in-house lawyer, was representing him.
Baldwin told the judge she was “solely” representing Penn State, though Spanier told the judge who was swearing him in that Baldwin was his lawyer. Baldwin sat through Spanier’s testimony.
Spanier’s attorneys said prosecutors further violated their client’s rights when Baldwin was brought in to testify to the grand jury in October 2012.
Baldwin answered questions about how she prepared Spanier for his grand jury testimony the year before, and Spanier’s lawyer said those conversations should have been protected under the attorney-client privilege.
Spanier maintains he is innocent in the criminal case and has a motion before Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover to dismiss the charges against him.
His co-defendants, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, face the same charges and also are awaiting trial.
Curley and Schultz’s lawyers have maintained their clients’ innocence and have asked the judge to dismiss the charges.
Hoover’s decisions are pending.