The judge who presided over the grand jury investigation of Jerry Sandusky and senior Penn State officials denied Tuesday motions to throw out pieces of evidence against the men before a preliminary hearing, saying their lawyers are using stall tactics to delay the case.
In a 16-page ruling, Feudale singled out one issue in making his decision: whether he has the jurisdiction to entertain such motions.
The judge also denied a motion to throw out the grand jury testimonies of Spanier and former university general counsel Cynthia Baldwin as well as to bar Baldwin from taking the stand during a yet-unscheduled preliminary hearing.
“In the view of this court, the motions extant are in effect legal chimera’s (sic),” Feudale wrote, calling them “concepts perceived by this (j)udge as legally creative, imaginative but implausible and serve only to delay the administration of justice in this simple case involving whether Spanier, Curley and Schultz did or did not commit the crimes alleged.”
The judge’s ruling would appear to give the Curley, Schultz and Spanier cases the green light to proceed to a preliminary hearing in a case that has been on hold since the men were arraigned in suburban Harrisburg in November. The men were indicted using Baldwin’s testimony as well as evidence that was turned up in the Freeh report.
The defense lawyers had argued in court papers that Baldwin violated attorney-client privilege when she testified to the grand jury against the men. The lawyers also have said their clients thought Baldwin was representing them at the grand jury, but Baldwin has said she was representing the interests of Penn State.
Feudale’s decision came after the prosecuting attorneys and the defense lawyers gave oral arguments Jan. 24. The judge also said his decision was based on an “extensive and careful review” of records related to the case.
Feudale firmly believed he does not have the jurisdiction to handle the requests. Instead, his role as the supervising judge of the grand jury is to keep its proceedings secret, and his duties ended when he accepted the grand jury presentment that a majority of the grand jurors approved by a vote.
Feudale said even if he had jurisdiction, he does not think the defense lawyers’ motions have legal merit.
“Even if attorney Baldwin exercised poor judgment and/or improper ethical conduct in her handling of the Sandusky investigation; such does not (in this court’s view) provide a defense to any crimes,” Feudale wrote.
Feudale said he does not believe Baldwin violated attorney-client privilege, and the appropriate course for that would be to take the matter to the attorney disciplinary board or a civil court — not a grand jury.