A judge in Dauphin County has ruled that a defense motion to prevent a national news broadcast from airing a special on two Jerry Sandusky case prosecutors is a moot issue.
President Judge Todd Hoover’s ruling came Tuesday, six days after the lawyers for former university administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley tried to stop the broadcast, arguing in their emergency motion that it could taint the jury pool. The defense lawyers also said the comments were violations of a lawyer’s professional code of conduct.
The special aired on Showtime and focused on Frank Fina and Joseph E. McGettigan III, two lawyers who prosecuted the Sandusky case for the state Attorney General’s Office under Linda Kelly and have taken other jobs since Kathleen Kane took over the office. In the interviews for the program, Fina said he thinks Curley and Schultz conspired to hide abuse allegations against Sandusky, which is the basis for the charges against the two former university officials.
A prosecutor for the Kane administration called the defense motion “frivolous” and said Fina didn’t violate the code of conduct when he gave an interview.
The prosecutor, Bruce Beemer, said the defense lawyers have not asked for a gag order and have made comments of their own to the news media.
The prosecutor also called out the defense lawyers for making press statements after the preliminary hearing for Curley, Schultz and former university President Graham Spanier in July. Beemer said the lawyers likely violated the code of conduct when they attacked the credibility of prosecution witness Mike McQueary, who testified that he discussed with head coach Joe Paterno how the university handled the Sandusky crisis.
Beemer also argued that stopping the broadcast from airing would have been a First Amendment violation.
During the broadcast, Fina also said that he didn’t think Paterno was involved in the alleged cover-up, but that was not an issue in the defense motion.
Curley, Schultz and Spanier are awaiting trial on perjury, obstruction of justice and related charges. Their lawyers have maintained that their clients are innocent.