Wednesday, March 18

Spanier Complaint Details Freeh's Lies, Strikes Back at Frazier, Peetz, & Masser

Spanier's complaint not only exposed Freeh's lies, but seeks to expose his phony investigation racket.  It also struck back at PSU officials for parroting Freeh's groundless and defamatory findings -- in clear violation of Spanier's separation agreement.

March 18, 2015
Contact: Libby Locke
Telephone: 202-628-7400

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier Files Defamation Complaint Against Louis Freeh

Suit asserts Freeh’s $8 million “Report” was a media-driven product that disregarded evidence and reached false and defamatory conclusions regarding Dr. Spanier

STATE COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA – Dr. Graham Spanier, former President of Penn State University, filed a 140-page defamation complaint today against former FBI director Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, in the Court of Common Pleas in Centre County, Pennsylvania. The case centers on false and defamatory statements made in the “Freeh Report,” which was commissioned by Penn State University’s Board of Trustees in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

In the filing, Dr. Spanier alleges that Freeh and his law firm knowingly and maliciously published false and defamatory statements about him in the Freeh Report, causing significant damage to Dr. Spanier’s reputation – harm which was compounded by Freeh’s promotion of the report in a nationally televised press conference. The complaint alleges that Freeh recklessly disregarded evidence in the final report, including the results of a comprehensive federal investigation that vindicated Dr. Spanier. The complaint also alleges that the 267-page Freeh Report was virtually complete before Freeh ever interviewed Dr. Spanier, which occurred only four business days before the report was issued.

“Dr. Spanier’s complaint demonstrates that the Freeh Report was little more than a public relations product that expediently scapegoated a few individuals and was designed to knock the controversy out of the news as quickly as possible,” said Libby Locke, attorney for Dr. Spanier. “We intend to demonstrate in this suit that through misdirection and strategic omissions, the Freeh Report intentionally reached the false and defamatory conclusion that Dr. Spanier had knowledge of information and events that he did not.”

In the suit, Dr. Spanier seeks to reclaim his reputation and to establish Freeh’s liability for the substantial harm that Freeh and his law firm have caused. Dr. Spanier is asking a jury to award compensatory and punitive damages for the reputational and economic harm caused by Freeh’s defamatory statements.

Spanier’s complaint also brings claims for multiple breaches of contract by Penn State, including the University’s efforts to publicize the Freeh Report, disparaging statements about Dr. Spanier by certain members of the University’s Board of Trustees, and other breaches of Dr. Spanier’s separation agreement. The complaint also includes a count for tortious interference of business relations against Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, Freeh’s consulting firm, for interfering with Dr. Spanier’s contracts to perform national security work for the federal government.

“We will show that the predetermined findings of the Freeh investigation were not supported by evidence or fact,” said Locke. “As a result, Dr. Spanier’s reputation was severely tarnished. He is filing this complaint today to prove that Freeh’s conclusions are false and defamatory and to restore the reputations of those who were falsely targeted by Freeh.”

Dr. Spanier is optimistic that this lawsuit also will shine a light on Freeh’s lucrative business model of purported “investigative reports” for his clients embroiled in controversy. In the case of Dr. Spanier, the Penn State Board of Trustees needed Freeh to assign blame for Sandusky’s behavior and to justify the hasty personnel decisions made in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal. The Freeh Report falsely blamed Dr. Spanier, other University officials, and Coach Joe Paterno in a misguided effort to enable the University to compartmentalize responsibility for Sandusky’s conduct and to bring closure to the scandal. 

The lawsuit is Docket Number 2013-2707.

Further information about the lawsuit may be found here:  


  1. This lawsuit was a pleasant surprise. I don't see how Penn State can successfully defend the breach of contract complaint about the non-disparagement clause. The Freeh Report, NCAA Consent Decree, Freeh's public comments and Trustee public comments all disparaged Spanier.

    Penn State should just publicly refute the Freeh Report, apologize and write a check.

  2. Hip, hip, hooray for Graham B Spanier!
    Hip, hip, hooray for Dr G!

    He can stand. And he can grow.
    Look at him now! See what he knows!

    Hip, hip, hooray for Graham B Spanier!
    He's gonna win you this fight!

    So give a G R A Ham,
    it's Graham Spanier tonight!!!!


  3. Spaniel wasn't even indicted until after Freeh Report. I am seeing some light!!

  4. I've read the defamation complaint in its entirety. Despite its 140 pages, it can be read fairly quickly. It is clearly written and the lawyers present their arguments in a straightforward fashion. As Ray Blehar has done in his analyses, the complaint hoists Freeh on his own petard, using passages from the infamous Freeh Report itself to demonstrate the utter lack of logic behind Freeh's conclusions in the report and behind statements that Freeh and PSU trustees and administrators have made about Spanier, Paterno, et al.

    1. Agreed. I especially like the part where they quote Freeh's Dec. 10, 2014 NY Times Commentary on the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of CIA torture.

      Freeh complained that the Committee "failed to interview the three CIA directors and three deputy directors, or any other CIA employee for that matter ... Such a glaring investigative lapse cannot be fairly explained by the Democratic majority’s defense that it could make such crucial findings solely on the “paper record,” without interviewing the critical players."

      Yet the Freeh Report had the same "glaring investigative lapse" because Freeh failed to interview any of "critical players" in the 2001 shower incident. He failed to interview any of the 3 men with first-hand knowledge of the 2001 shower incident (Mike McQueary, Sandusky, victim 2). He also failed to interview any of the 5 men with second-hand knowledge, via Mike McQueary.

  5. Add Jeffery Tobin to the list of critics of the Freeh Report. Tobin is CNN's senior legal analyst. In his New Yorker piece titled "A New Twist in the Penn State Case" Tobin writes,

    "It is difficult to square Spanier’s behavior and Freeh’s broad condemnation."

    "As it turned out, Freeh’s denunciations of Spanier were a lot clearer than his actual evidence against him."

    "Still, the very complexity of the facts as they have eventually emerged should remind us of the risk of rushing to judgment."

    1. Thanks for posting this, Tim. I have been off the grid for the last six days and reading Toobin's piece was a good way to get back into the swing of things.

  6. "Tobin is CNN's senior legal analyst."

    Tim, thank you for this connection. How interesting to think of Ms Ganim perhaps being tutored by her employer's Sr Legal Analyst on issues of defamation.

  7. Ray
    After all that has been written, debated and analysed, why are we still dealing with the same BoT? As I continue to read all the mistakes and ventitides dealing with this novel I am concerned about the real lack of leadership from the B!
    When is enough, enough?

  8. Bob,
    The remnants of the 11-9-11 Board - Frazier, Masser, Silvis, Hintz, Lubert, Dambly, and Eckel - continue to control the board by keeping the B&I, Agriculture, and Governor Appointees in a voting block.

    They can't be voted out because that takes a vote on each member individually. The only way to rid ourselves of them is for Wolf to appoint new trustees/cabinet heads and to begin making in-roads into the Agriculture trustee group (e.g., Jess Stairs). Also, the Board reform proposal by Senator Yudichak is helpful.

    Eventually, either a legal action or criminal action will get them out of our hair forever.

    1. If enormous heat and relentless scrutiny continue being focused on the fiduciarily corrupt core of the PSU BoT, couldn't one or more resign?

    2. Some already have (Surma, Broadhurst, Peetz, etc) but enough are hanging on to keep the truth hidden for as long as possible.

    3. All at the expense of the reputation of Joe Paterno, Penn State Football and PSU in general.

  9. I agree, but in my mind they,
    - Frazier, Masser, Silvis, Hintz, Lubert, Dambly, and Eckel - and a couple more have done nothing but bring disgrace to Penn State with zero consequences. The few that follow the rest are just bystanders with nothing to gain except the seat on the Board!