Cynthia Baldwin, Pennsylvania State University's former top lawyer, told grand jurors last year former president Graham B. Spanier was a liar only days after prosecutors had met privately with her, at her request, to discuss the Jerry Sandusky case.
According to a letter she and her lawyer signed in October 2012, Baldwin was told anything she said in that off-the-record meeting would not be used against her in a criminal case.
Spanier's attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, released the letter Friday, contending that Baldwin turned against the former university president only to save herself from being charged in the alleged cover-up.
"Ms. Baldwin's testimony was, we believe, created in large part by her own fear of prosecution," Ainslie said in a statement. She also said Baldwin's testimony was "shamefully inaccurate."
She fired the salvo after a week when defense attorneys in the case were frustrated by a Dauphin County judge's decision to block Baldwin from testifying in a pretrial hearing. The lawyers had hoped to get their first chance at cross-examining Baldwin, a former state Supreme Court justice who has emerged as a central witness in the case against Spanier, former university vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley.
Judge Todd A. Hoover said he would rely instead on Baldwin's grand jury testimony and ordered it unsealed. Those transcripts offered the most complete picture to date of testimony that could shape any trial of Spanier.
Ainslie also cited an interview Baldwin gave to federal officials early in 2012 in which she called Spanier "a man of integrity." She made that assertion months after hearing him testify to the grand jury investigating Sandusky - testimony she now claims included lies.
Baldwin's attorney, Charles De Monaco, said his client changed her opinion of Spanier in July 2012, when former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his report and e-mails and documents suggesting the administrators knew about complaints against Sandusky.
De Monaco also noted that Baldwin did not volunteer to speak to the grand jury - she was subpoenaed - and that prosecutors gave her no promise of immunity.
"If she testifies at trial, the defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine her then," he said Friday. "But these are issues that should play out in court."
The three former administrators face charges including perjury, obstruction of justice, and child endangerment for allegedly lying to a grand jury and covering up reports that Sandusky was sexually assaulting young boys on Penn State's campus.
Defense lawyers for all three have repeatedly called Baldwin's testimony into question, arguing that she violated attorney-client privilege by testifying against them without their knowledge.
Until summer 2012, Baldwin served as legal counsel to Spanier and other school administrators, even sitting with them as they testified to the grand jury investigating the Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
But she said she represented the interests of Penn State, not the men as individuals.
Baldwin never told Spanier she was going to the grand jury to testify against him, Ainslie said, which could have allowed him to raise the attorney-client issue.
Ainslie has asked the court to throw out the charges against Spanier, saying Baldwin was allowed to listen to his grand jury testimony only because she was his lawyer.