U.S. judge denies Spanier bid to halt criminal case
HARRISBURG (AP) – A federal judge in Pennsylvania said Friday she will not halt the criminal case against former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who is accused of a criminal cover-up of child sex abuse complaints against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane dismissed the legal action brought by Spanier against state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, whose office is prosecuting him and two other former university administrators.
Spanier claimed he was the victim of selective prosecution and said the federal court should also intervene because prosecutors had improperly used testimony from a university lawyer he said was representing him when he appeared before a grand jury.
The judge’s memorandum said her decision was based on a principle that federal courts should keep out of state prosecutions in all but the most extraordinary instances.
Spanier’s lawyers argued the case against him was undertaken in bad faith and without any hope of getting a valid conviction.
Judge Kane said she was “leaving to the state court an assessment of whether any impropriety in the investigation and grand jury proceeding occurred, and whether (Spanier) is entitled to any relief.”
A spokesman for the attorney general and Spanier’s lawyer, Liz Ainslie, both declined comment.
Spanier, who was forced out as university president a few days after Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges in November 2011, faces charges of perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, failure to properly report suspected abuse and endangering the welfare of children.
He awaits trial in Dauphin County court in Harrisburg, along with retired vice president Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley.
All three defendants await a judge’s decision about claims their right to legal representation was violated by the actions of former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin related to their appearances before an investigative grand jury in 2011.
Sandusky, a Washington native who spent decades as an assistant coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted two years ago of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence at SCI-Greene.