Penn State

Ex-Penn State lawyer kept off witness stand during hearing

The grand jury testimony of the former Penn State lawyer who is at the center of a criminal case against three university administrators has been unsealed and soon will be made available to the public.

A transcript of the October 2012 testimony from Cynthia Baldwin will be among the documentation a Dauphin County judge said Tuesday would be admissible in his decision on whether to drop some charges against former university administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who are accused of covering up abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.

Baldwin was subpoenaed by the defense lawyers to testify during a court hearing Tuesday, but Judge Todd A. Hoover rejected the subpoena. The hearing, which had been scheduled to extend over four days, ended quickly Tuesday morning after attorney conferences behind closed doors in the judge’s chambers Monday and earlier Tuesday.

The defense lawyers have said their legal rights were violated twice by Baldwin, and that is the reason they’re seeking a dismissal of the charges. But Baldwin’s lawyer has defended her involvement, saying she fulfilled her duties to Penn State.

The lawyers have said their clients thought Baldwin was representing them when they testified to the grand jury in 2011, though Baldwin has said she was representing Penn State’s interests.

The defense also contends Baldwin violated attorney-client privilege when she testified to the grand jury Oct. 26, 2012, about discussions she had with the men regarding subpoenas issued in late 2010 and 2011 that pertained to the Sandusky investigation.

Her testimony was used in a grand jury presentment released less than a week later, on Nov. 1, 2012, that included conspiracy and obstruction and other charges against Spanier and new conspiracy, obstruction and endangerment charges against Curley and Schultz.

In addition to Baldwin’s grand jury testimony, the judge will base his decision on letters previously under seal that were sent back and forth among the defense lawyers for the men, a Penn State lawyer, Baldwin’s lawyer and the judge supervising the grand jury.

The newly unsealed documents were not made available immediately Tuesday, and a state court spokesman said the records would be included with a transcript of the proceeding when it is released next week.

The judge told the lawyers they would have to submit some additional legal documentation called findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the prosecution from the Attorney General’s Office will have a chance to respond.

The judge said there could be an evidentiary hearing to follow the written arguments.

Spanier was the only one of the former administrators to appear in court for the hearing.

After the proceeding, Spanier’s attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, signaled disappointment in the way the court date turned out. She said she had hoped to offer testimony from Baldwin and from Jonelle Eshbach and Frank Fina, two former prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office who were involved in the grand jury investigation.

The judge rejected the subpoenas for them to testify.

When asked what Ainslie expected to hear from Baldwin, Ainslie declined to comment.

Spanier, Curley and Schultz are charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, child endangerment and failure to report abuse. Their lawyers have maintained that their clients are innocent and have vowed to fight the charges on all fronts, including appealing the Baldwin issues if the judge rules against them.

Ainslie said Baldwin’s lawyer, Charles De Monaco, told her that his client was not offered immunity from prosecution for her grand jury testimony.

De Monaco defended his client during a brief news conference after the hearing Tuesday and refused to take questions from reporters.

“She at all times fulfilled her duties and obligations,” he said.

Related stories from Centre Daily Times