Superior Court to hear side argument in Penn State case

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley, and former vice president Gary Schultz.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The sanctions are over for the Penn State football team.

Jerry Sandusky sits behind bars. Nearly all of his victims have been compensated.

The university has almost put the dark and sordid saga in the rear view mirror.

Almost.

There’s still the never-ending issue of charges against former president Graham Spanier and former administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. They were initially accused by the Attorney General’s office of covering up Sandusky’s misdeeds in December 2011. Nearly four years later, the case still lingers.

“I can tell you this is very unusual, this kind of delay,” said attorney Bill Costopoulos, who is local counsel to Schultz.

So when will the trio have their day in court?

“It’s gonna be a while, but my best guess is another year,” Costopoulos said.

Cynthia Baldwin
Cynthia Baldwin

Superior Court will hear a side argument Tuesday in Harrisburg focused on whether testimony by Cynthia Baldwin should be permitted. Curley, Schultz and Spanier say they thought Baldwin was their attorney when she sat in on their initial grand jury testimony about Sandusky. Baldwin then testified to another grand jury about discrepancies in what the trio said, resulting in more charges against them.

“I think the whole case has to be thrown out,” said Harrisburg attorney Walter Cohen, who briefly served as attorney general 20 years ago following the resignation of Ernie Preate.

Cohen says it’s a clear violation of attorney-client privilege. Baldwin has insisted that she was representing Penn State University and not the three men. Cohen says if that’s so, then Baldwin should never have been in the grand jury room while they were testifying in what’s supposed to be secret. Cohen further said the judge overseeing the grand jury told him that he believed that Baldwin was representing Spanier, Schultz and Curley or he would never have allowed Baldwin into the grand jury room.

“If lawyers are permitted in front of the grand jury with an individual, and then allowed to testify against them, and tell the grand jury what they said and why they think they lied, our system is totally broken down,” Cohen said.

But judges haven’t seen it that way thus far. They’ve let the case, and Baldwin’s testimony, proceed. Attorney General spokesman Chuck Ardo said the AG’s office is confident it is on solid legal ground with Baldwin’s testimony and looks forward to seeing the case proceed in court.

But an actual courtroom on the merits of the initial case is still a long ways off. Whoever loses in Superior Court on the Baldwin issue will likely appeal to the Supreme Court, adding months to the delay.

Costopoulos says all sides want closure, but he insists the side argument being fought will set important legal precedent.

“It has a lot of legal and intellectual implications when your own lawyer can take the witness stand and testify against you,” Costopoulos said.

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