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Lawyers: Penn State ex-president framed by 'vindictive' governor

November 01, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Lawyers representing Graham B. Spanier angrily lashed out at prosecutors and Pennsylvania's governor, saying charges brought against the former president of Penn State University were politically motivated.

Spanier was charged on Thursday with being part of a cover-up of details in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. Two other former Penn State officials, who had been previously charged, face new charges as well, prosecutors announced.

“Graham Spanier has committed no crime and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his good name and well-earned national reputation for integrity,” his lawyers said in a statement emailed to reporters. The charges are “a politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man. And if these charges ever come to trial, we will prove it.”

WHO'S WHO: The Jerry Sandusky case

The statement is attributed to Spanier’s lawyers, Timothy K. Lewis, Elizabeth Ainslie, Peter F. Vaira and Jack Riley. The lawyers argued that the charges are a ploy by Gov. Tom Corbett, who was the state’s attorney general from 2005 to 2011. Corbett was involved in investigating Sandusky as early as 2009. Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was arrested and charged in November 2011 and is now in prison.

The statement said the current charges against Spanier are designed to “cover up and divert attention away from the fact that he [Corbett] failed to warn the Penn State community about the suspicions surrounding Jerry Sandusky, and instead knowingly allowed a child predator to roam free in Pennsylvania. Its timing speaks volumes. These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated governor working through an unelected attorney general, Linda Kelly, whom he appointed to do his bidding and who will be a lame duck five days from now.”

The state alleges that Spanier along with two other university officials, Timothy M. Curley and Gary C. Schultz, failed to act on reports that Sandusky was sexually abusing boys, sometimes in the showers at football training facilities on campus.

Sandusky, 68, was convicted of 45 counts of abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

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