A request for an injunction by former Penn State President Graham Spanier to stop his criminal prosecution on charges from the Jerry Sandusky scandal should be thrown out, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane argued in court papers this week.
Spanier asked for an injunction in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg on Monday, accusing former Sandusky case prosecutor Frank Fina of violating 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.
Kane quickly responded to the request for the injunction, saying the abstention doctrine would prevent the federal court from getting involved in the criminal case that her office is prosecuting in Dauphin County. Kane said she would respond soon with a legal memo citing case law to support her argument.
A spokesman for Spanier lawyer Elizabeth Ainslie declined to comment on Kane’s response.
In the lawsuit, Ainslie accused Fina of acting in “bad faith” when he brought Spanier to testify to the grand jury in April 2011. Ainslie 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.
Ainslie said Fina didn’t raise a red flag when conflicting versions of Baldwin’s representations came up before the judge who swore-in Spanier to testify. 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.
Ainslie said Fina further violated Spanier’s rights when Fina brought Baldwin in to testify to the grand jury in October 2012. Baldwin answered questions from Fina 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.
Ainslie has maintained that Spanier is innocent and has a motion before Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover to dismiss the charges against her client.
Spanier’s co-defendants, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, face the same charges and are awaiting trial, too. Curley’s and Schultz’s lawyers have maintained their clients’ innocence and also asked the judge to dismiss the charges.
Hoover’s decisions are pending.