Case against PSU officials in jeopardy, former AG says

Since publishing this story, abc27 has learned that Walter Cohen is listed as a potential defense witness in the case against Tim Curley. Court documents say he will potentially testify against Cynthia Baldwin.

Her oil portrait hangs in Penn State's stately Old Main. She is a former chair of the university's Board of Trustees and the school's former lawyer.

Cynthia Baldwin is so respected, former Governor Ed Rendell appointed her to fill out a term on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

But like so many other highly respected university officials, Baldwin is now ensnared in the Jerry Sandusky saga.

As Penn State's counsel, Baldwin accompanied then-president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley to their grand jury appearances in Harrisburg. She was in the room with them as they testified to the secret body and all three men thought Cynthia Baldwin was representing them.

Except she wasn't.

When the case blew up, Baldwin reportedly said she was representing Penn State, not the individual men. If true, legal analysts say she had no business being in the grand jury room.

She has since turned state's evidence, gone before the same grand jury as a witness, and testified about what the trio told her – in what they thought was confidence. Baldwin is helping to make the state's case against Curley, Schultz and Spanier much to the shock and dismay of their lawyers.

“We were stunned,” Caroline Roberto, Curley's attorney said after a court appearance last week. “We were flabbergasted that she would have testified against our clients.”

Tom Farrell, Schultz's attorney, said Baldwin “betrayed her clients and her profession.”

But defense attorneys aren't the only ones blasting Baldwin's behavior.

“There's so many levels of her incompetence, or worse, in terms of how she conducted herself,” said Walter Cohen, a Harrisburg attorney and former attorney general.

Cohen blames both Baldwin and the attorney general's office. He says Baldwin should never have been in the grand jury room with those men if she wasn't representing them. He calls it “beyond wrong” that she would then testify against them and break attorney-client privilege.

Cohen blasts the AG for building its case on her testimony, knowing she was previously in the room supposedly as their counsel. He says prosecutors should have made clear from the outset that Baldwin was representing Spanier, Schultz and Curley and if not, she should have been “kicked out of the room.”

Will it jeopardize the state's case against the trio?

“I think the case may be in jeopardy,” Cohen said. “And I think the case should be in jeopardy because they were denied their constitutional rights to counsel, plain and simple violation of the constitution.”

Cohen says he's been told that prosecutors tried to tell Baldwin to recommend that Spanier, Schultz and Curley get their own lawyers because there could be a conflict. Cohen says her response to that advice was curt.

“Cynthia Baldwin's response, from what I've been told from credible individuals was, 'I am a former Supreme Court Justice. I don't need a lecture on conflict,'” Cohen said.

Cohen insists that Baldwin could face sanctions from the Judicial Conduct Board.

In a statement, Baldwin attorney Charles DeMonaco said that “The suggestion by anyone that Ms. Baldwin did not fulfill her ethical and professional duties to the Pennsylvania State University and its agents and administrators is untrue.”

The attorney general's office said it would not debate the case in the media on speculation from a man who's not privy to the facts, but rather let it play out in court.

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