Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier kept a low profile after he was fired in November – until yesterday when he went on a media blitz.
His attorneys began the assault and summed up the Freeh Report in two words: a myth. Spanier then stepped it up during an interview with ABC News.
“The conclusions in that report, in effect that we conspired to conceal a known child predator, are just incorrect,” Spanier told the network.
Harrisburg defense attorney Rich Wagner thinks the Freeh Report has gotten a free pass in the public, but no longer.
“I think it was necessary to have that balance publicly, to show this Freeh Report isn't the best thing since sliced bread,” Wagner said. “There are glaring problems with that.”
While Spanier proclaimed his innocence to the world, he really hopes the attorney general's office and Dauphin County residents were listening.
“They're certainly effecting potential jurors and they're sending a message that this not a worthy prosecution,” First Deputy District Attorney Fran Chardo said, “and felt a need to get out there and get out ahead of it.”
“If he's eventually charged and then vindicated based on same information his lawyers and he are trying to present now, then the attorney general's office would look very silly,” said Karl Rominger, co-counsel for Jerry Sandusky's defense team.
The Freeh Report implicates Spanier in a cover-up, but Chardo said that's not illegal. He said that if state prosecutors are going to charge the ousted president, it would have to be for perjury.
“The bigger question is what did Graham Spanier say in that grand jury,” Chardo said.
Spanier's grand jury testimony is sealed. His lips are not.
So will he be charged? Prosecutors will only say that the investigation continues.
Chardo said that perjury is very hard to prove, but if prosecutors believe that have enough evidence, a media blitz won't stop them from pressing charges.