Penn State

Judge denies early release of prosecution evidence against Graham Spanier

A Dauphin County judge will not give the legal team for former Penn State President Graham Spanier early access to prosecution evidence ahead of a long-awaited preliminary hearing in Harrisburg next week.

Dauphin County President Judge Todd A. Hoover denied Thursday a request from Spanier’s lawyers earlier this week seeking a transcript of his grand jury testimony, prosecution exhibits and written statements from possible prosecution witnesses.

The hearing for Spanier and his co-defendants Tim Curley and Gary Schultz starts Monday in Harrisburg and could continue Tuesday and Thursday, if necessary, in the Dauphin County Courthouse. Prosecutors will present their evidence to see if the judge will hold the cases over for trial.

Spanier is facing perjury, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, conspiracy and failure to report abuse charges, and his lawyers said they want the early release of the documents in the “interests of justice and efficiency.”

Spanier’s lawyers said state law allows the release of grand jury testimony and said the prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s Office have refused to provide them with a copy of it.

Prosecutors could read his grand jury testimony into the court record to support the perjury charge. That’s what happened when Curley and Schultz had a preliminary hearing in December 2011 on the perjury and failure to report abuse charges.

Curley and Schultz will be in court next week, too, to face obstruction of justice, child endangerment and conspiracy charges. The perjury and failure to report abuse cases were bound over for trial after the 2011 hearing, but the case had stalled after the men were indicted on new charges late last year.

The men are charged with covering up abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky more than a decade ago.

The lawyers for the three men have maintained that their clients are innocent and vowed to fight the charges. They have a motion to dismiss the charges filed with Judge Hoover.