Spanier Challenges Freeh Report
Attorneys for Graham Spanier defended the former Penn State president in a news conference today, and blasted the Freeh report as “so infused with bias and innuendo that it is quite simply unworthy of the confidence placed in it.”
Spanier himself didn’t attend the news conference, held in Philadelphia, but he sat down for an interview with ABC News’ Josh Elliott. According to an ABC news release, portions of the interview will appear online on ESPN this afternoon, on World News With Diane Sawyer tonight at 6:30 EDT, and on Good Morning America tomorrow morning.
The ABC interview is billed as an exclusive—the first time Spanier has spoken publicly since he lost his job last Nov. 9—but just this afternoon, the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin published lengthy excerpts from an interview that he did with Spanier last month.
Tim Lewis, one of several attorneys representing Spanier, did most of the talking at this morning’s news conference. He described Spanier as having “enjoyed a well-earned reputation for integrity and innovation, an unimpeachable reputation. This, along with his unparalleled commitment to the great university he led for 16 years, has brought him recognition from his peers as among the truly outstanding university presidents of his era.”
Lewis also described his own credentials as well as those of the other attorneys on Spanier’s team, pointing out that all of them—like Louis Freeh—are former federal prosecutors. Both Freeh and Lewis also spent time as U.S. district court judges.
“I give you this background,” Lewis said, “so you may be assured that we are quite familiar with the difference between an independent, full, and complete investigation … and the blundering and indefensible indictment with regard to Dr. Spanier that [Freeh] and his staff produced.”
Freeh was the former FBI director who headed the investigation commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees. “I admire Judge Freeh and respect his service to our nation,” Lewis said this morning. But “he has failed here. There is nothing, nothing full or complete about the Freeh report as it applies to Dr. Spanier. Nor am I aware of any court in the land that would accept such unsupported and outrageous conclusions….
“Sadly, it is now apparent that Judge Freeh was not an independent investigator as far as Dr. Spanier was concerned, but a self-anointed accuser … who, recklessly and without justification, created victims of his own.”
Tina Hay, editor
P.S. The Spanier attorneys also released a letter from former Penn State football player and current faculty member Gary Gray ’72, ’77g, ’84g that they say bolsters their case. The Centre Daily Times has it in PDF form.