Penn State

Judge in Paterno suit orders Louis Freeh papers turned over

Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thursday, July 12, 2012, where he released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal.
Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thursday, July 12, 2012, where he released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal. CDT photo

A judge has shot down a continuing challenge from attorneys for Pepper Hamilton and Penn State in the lawsuit filed by the estate of Joe Paterno.

Potter County Senior Judge John Leete, specially presiding over the case in Centre County Court, handed down an order that dismissed the claims of attorney-client privilege and work product that the university and the law firm have made for months.

Pepper Hamilton, the firm that merged with Freeh, Sporkin and Sullivan after former FBI director Louis Freeh delivered his university-commissioned investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, was ordered to deliver requested discovery documents within 30 days of the judge’s directive, dated Tuesday.

It was not the first time Leete had made such a ruling. Pepper Hamilton joined Penn State’s opposition after the judge ruled that the university could not assert attorney-client privilege, saying it rested with the law firm.

He subsequently balked at Pepper Hamilton’s first attempts to make those claims in October 2014. The firm appealed in December and in January, the Paternos pushed for enforcement of the subpoena for the documents.

Leete wrote that his court had no jurisdiction on the privilege arguments, and with no stay issued by the state superior court “the status quo is to continue with the discovery process.”

The Paterno estate, along with former trustee Al Clemens and former assistant football coaches Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, is suing the university as well as the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, and former executive committee chairman Ed Ray.

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