Now A Key Witness Against Penn State Officials Might Be Ineligible To Testify

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One of the central figures in the cover-up case against Penn State administrators is Cynthia Baldwin, the university's former lawyer. Since Jerry Sandusky's arrest last November, Baldwin has provided a grand jury with damaging testimony about all three university officials facing charges—former president Graham Spanier, former senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz, and on-leave athletic director Tim Curley.

But Baldwin herself had accompanied all three men when they testified before the grand jury investigating Sandusky for child sex abuse. She has said that she was simply representing Penn State, but the officials say that at the time, Baldwin was representing them individually.


According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, court documents now show that the state attorney general's office is conceding that Baldwin was acting as the personal lawyer for each man during their testimony. If she was, their current lawyers are arguing, then attorney-client privilege should prevent her from testifying at trial.

Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and endangerment earlier this month. On that same day, Curley and Schultz, who were initially charged with perjury and failure to report abuse in the wake of Sandusky's arrest last November, were hit with additional charges of obstruction of justice, endangerment, and conspiracy. Baldwin, a former state Supreme Court justice and PSU trustee who stepped aside as the school's general counsel in June, told the grand jury many things that implicated Spanier, Curley, and Schultz:


• That they did not appropriately assist her in complying with a grand jury subpoena issued to the university.

• That Curley and Schultz "extensively discussed" their testimony with Spanier.

• That Spanier "required specific updates and regularly checked with" Baldwin about details of the grand jury's proceedings.

• That Spanier deliberately ignored her when she told him he could discuss his own testimony with the PSU board of trustees, and that Spanier did not provide the board with an update on the various subpoenas the university received, as Baldwin was led to believe he would.

• That even though Spanier repeatedly said he had no knowledge of the 1998 allegation against Sandusky, he later was able to discuss details of that case.


As Sara Ganim wrote back in February, Baldwin drove the 90 miles to Harrisburg with Curley and Schultz on the day they appeared before the grand jury in January 2011. Court documents have since revealed that she later accompanied Spanier during his grand jury appearance three months later. When Curley and Schultz testified, Baldwin told the judge she was there on the university's behalf, but she did not object when both men testified that she was their lawyer. And if Baldwin was not there as their lawyer, she appears to have had no business being in the hearing room that day, since grand jury proceedings are bound by secrecy rules.

Here's The Inquirer:

Her testimony against them violates attorney-client privilege and endangers their chances of receiving a fair trial, wrote Spanier's attorneys in a motion filed Monday in Dauphin County Court.

They, along with defense lawyers representing Curley and Schultz, have sought to bar Baldwin's testimony at trial and any forthcoming hearings.

"Ms. Baldwin's presence . . . deprived Dr. Spanier of counsel in deciding whether or not to exercise the privilege against self-incrimination," wrote Spanier's legal team. "He was led to believe that he was, in fact, already represented."


And here's the Centre Daily Times, from a report published last week:

The attorneys for Curley and Schultz have said their clients were betrayed by Baldwin when she testified to the grand jury and accused her of violating attorney-client privilege. She testified that it was evident to her that Curley and Schultz "extensively discussed" their own grand jury testimonies with then-president Graham Spanier, who was also indicted in the alleged cover-up.

The attorneys said in the court papers that their clients never waived the attorney-client privilege, so Baldwin should not have disclosed the information she was told in confidence by Curley and Schultz.


While the AG's office admits Baldwin was repping all three men individually, it stops short of saying her role will affect the case against them. From The Inquirer:

Baldwin initially expected that the administrators were cooperating witnesses with the Sandusky investigation and only learned after her relationship with them ended that they had purportedly hid information from her, [deputy assistant attorney general Bruce] Beemer alleged.

Their argument "amounts to a contention that appearing before a grand jury with conflicted counsel allows a witness to lie," he wrote.

Baldwin would later tell grand jurors that she became convinced over time that Spanier had lied when he told grand jurors he knew very little about two prior abuse allegations lodged against Sandusky.


It will be up to a judge to determine whether Baldwin can testify at future hearings, and whether she ultimately might prevent Curley, Spanier, and Schultz from receiving a fair trial.

Role of ex-Penn State lawyer seemingly conceded by prosecutors [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Curley, Schultz move to stop former Penn State attorney Cynthia Baldwin from testifying [CDT]