Penn State

Freeh backs down from specific judge request

Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference in July 2012 in Scranton, where he released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal.
Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference in July 2012 in Scranton, where he released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal. CDT file photo

Lawyers for former FBI director Louis Freeh are backing down from their request to hand-pick a judge.

Last week, Freeh’s attorneys filed a request in Centre County court to have an out-of-county judge appointed to hear the civil defamation case brought by former Penn State president Graham Spanier.

Freeh was hired by Penn State to conduct an independent investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. His 2012 report pointed fingers at Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz and the late former football coach Joe Paterno.

Spanier, Curley and Schultz are still awaiting trial on charges of perjury and conspiracy in Dauphin County, cases that have languished for years.

The judge Freeh’s camp requested was Todd Hoover, the jurist presiding over Spanier’s criminal case.

However, the same day Freeh’s attorneys made that request, an announcement was made that Hoover was taking a medical leave of absence from the bench.

On Thursday, there was a new filing, with Freeh’s lawyers withdrawing their “suggestion” that Hoover hear the case but still maintaining that an outside judge be named.

There are at least seven out-of-county judges who have been involved in Centre County cases in the past year.

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