One of the two defense lawyers who represented former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky at trial is being investigated for the potential theft of money from his clients, a prosecutor said Monday.
Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed released a statement that said he learned last week about allegations against Karl Rominger that concern a divorce case. Freed said Rominger’s defense lawyer, Bill Costopoulos, provided additional information and expressed a desire to cooperate.
“My office is leading an investigation into the potential misappropriation of a significant amount of client funds by Rominger,” Freed said.
Rominger told The Associated Press on Friday that he’s “cooperating completely” and referred further questions to Costopoulos, who was not immediately available for comment after Freed’s statement was released.
Norris Gelman, the lead lawyer in Sandusky’s pending appeal of his 45-count child molestation conviction, said Monday that Rominger’s representation of Sandusky ended some time ago. Gelman said the allegations regarding Rominger were highly unlikely to affect Sandusky’s case.
Freed said he learned about the allegations on Wednesday afternoon and met with Costopoulos on Thursday morning. Rominger told the AP that he initiated the investigation.
“The District Attorney’s Office is working quickly and I’m cooperating completely,” Rominger said.
In an audio statement released on his Facebook page, Rominger said he had “wronged” others.
“I will do everything in my power to help those that I’ve wronged and to make whole any loss that I’ve created,” he said.
Freed said he would decide on any charges based on the evidence.
“Public statements by suspects, even inculpatory statements, can be important evidence but are not sufficient basis by themselves to support a criminal charge,” Freed wrote.
Rominger, whose law firm is based in Carlisle, recently lost an appeal to the state Supreme Court of a trial court order that he disclose whether he released any information that was obtained from Sandusky prosecutors to anyone else. The order, by Judge John Cleland, was issued shortly after a taped statement by Sandusky’s adopted son Matt was broadcast on NBC.
Rominger had argued that Cleland was improperly requiring him to disclose a lawyer’s work product and that if he was forced to comply it could disclose his thought process and case strategy. Sandusky’s other trial attorney, Joe Amendola, complied with the order.
Sandusky, 70, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012 and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. A request pending before the state Supreme Court asks the justices to take the case on appeal.