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Spanier sues Penn State over access to old e-mails on Astini News

The e-mails at issue are those sent and received by Spanier as university president from 1998 to 2004 that have recently emerged and are in the university's possession. It was previously believed they did not exist because of a change in computer systems in 2004. Spanier's attorneys at the Philadelphia firm of Vaira & Riley say the e-mails have been provided to the Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Freeh investigation.

Penn State's Board of Trustees hired Freeh to investigate the university's handing of the Sandusky scandal.

In an April 25 letter to Freeh asking him to intercede with the university, Spanier's attorneys wrote: "As frustrated as we feel with the University's position, we wish to advise that we simply cannot agree to an interview without the necessary documents we know are in existence and which are essential to properly prepare our client."

They added, "We cannot repeat the episode from last year in which our client was permitted to be interviewed by the Attorney General's Office and, later, appear in front of a grand jury with absolutely no preparation, including no review of any relevant documents."

Spanier's lawyers said that providing Spanier access to his own e-mails should not compromise any investigation and that he is willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.

He needs the e-mails to be prepared, especially "when dealing with events which may have occurred over 10 years ago and, in Dr. Spanier's case, well over 10,000 e-mails ago and thousands of meetings ago," his lawyers wrote.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre responded to the lawsuit in a statement: "We cannot comment on any specifics related to pending litigation. However, the University has cooperated fully with the Office of Attorney General and the Freeh Group and expects all of its faculty, staff, and administrators, including Dr. Spanier, to cooperate to the fullest extent. The University believes it has done nothing that would prevent Dr. Spanier from meeting with the Freeh Group, which has already met with hundreds of university employees."

Sandusky, 68, is charged with abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He has repeatedly denied the allegations. In November, after a firestorm of criticism, the trustees announced that longtime football coach Joe Paterno had been fired and that Spanier had resigned. Sandusky was Paterno's former defensive coordinator.


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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