By Tony Romeo and Ben Simmoneau
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A judge in Harrisburg did not immediately rule today after hearing arguments on motions to dismiss charges against two former Penn State administrators charged with perjury in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Thomas Farrell (in photo), the lawyer for Gary Schultz, who was a Penn State vice-president, argued that the perjury charge against his client should be quashed because the Commonwealth has not specified which statements made to a grand jury are alleged to have been false.
Meanwhile, the attorney for Timothy Curley, who was Penn State’s athletic director, argued that the perjury charge against her client should be dropped because the only corroborating testimony presented at a preliminary hearing came from Joe Paterno — who is now dead.
Judge Todd Hoover made no immediate decision and did not indicate when he would rule on the request.
The argument centered on the perjury charge, which defense attorneys contend is not specific enough and is based on Curley’s and Schultz’s opinion of what they were told by Mike McQueary. He witnessed Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in the showers of Penn State’s football building in 2001 and reported the incident to former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, Curley and Schultz. Schultz and Curley both told the Grand Jury they did not believe what occurred was sexual in nature or a crime. The Grand Jury did not believe them.
Their attorneys say that doesn’t matter.
“Whether you thought it was sexual or not, whether you thought it was a crime or not are not the issues that should be subject to perjury,” said Curley’s attorney Caroline Roberto. “They call for a subjective opinion.”
Roberto also argued that it will be difficult for the prosecution to prove the perjury case against Tim Curley without testimony from Joe Paterno who died in January.
“I think that Mr. Paterno’s death provides us with an argument that will be hard for the Commonwealth to respond to,” she said.
Schultz’s attorney Tom Farrell told the judge that frankly, he’d like the charges dropped now because he’s worried a jury might convict the two men based on how they responded to Sandusky’s actions – not based strictly on whether what they told the Grand Jury was true.
Attorneys and the judge agreed a second hearing will have to be held on the second criminal charge of failing to report abuse. That comes with a 10-year statute of limitations, which the defense argued had expired by the time Curley and Schultz were charged in November 2011. The shower incident occurred in February 2001, although prosecutors initially believed it didn’t happen until March 2002, which put them within the 10-year time frame.
On Wednesday however, prosecutors filed a new argument saying the failure to report crime is in fact continuous in that it keeps occurring each day that authorities are not informed. Defense attorneys said they needed more time to respond to that argument.
Prosecutors declined comment but told the judge a jury should decide these issues at trial.