Thursday, July 30

Analysis: Court Was Wrong. Baldwin Dishonest...AND Incompetent.

The court's determination of Baldwin's mere incompetence was based on an erroneous record of evidence.  An analysis of a more complete and correct record shows that Baldwin was dishonest on many occasions 

Ray Blehar
July 30, 2020, 9:59 AM EDT

Had the PA Supreme Court been aware of a more complete and accurate record of evidence, it would have concluded that former PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin was not merely incompetent, but was purposely deceptive and/or dishonest in her representation of PSU officials, her representations to various courts, and in statements to the public.

But the court was not well informed and instead wrote (Opinion at 66):

The Disciplinary Board, having concluded that Respondent poses no danger
to the public or the profession and recognizing that her misconduct here did not reflect
any dishonesty in the practice of law, recommends that this Court neither suspend nor
disbar her. Instead, the Disciplinary Board recommends that this Court discipline Respondent by and through a public censure.

Fina, Baldwin, & others undermined the justice system
If the court had been cognizant of just the few pieces of evidence highlighted in this blog post, it would come to a very different conclusion -- and would have likely suspended her law license for life.

And the same goes for Frank Fina, who got off easy with a license suspension of one year and one day.

This pair of miscreants (along with several others) colluded to undermine the administration of justice in the cases of former PSU officials Graham Spanier, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz.

Even without the benefit of a more complete and accurate picture of the evidence,  the PA Supreme Court recognized that Fina wasn't serious about charging Baldwin for her purported lack of compliance with subpoenas and that he was using her testimony to implicate the three former PSU officials.

Opinion at 64 (emphasis added):

"Moreover, Fina’s testimony at the Hearing Committee’s evidentiary proceedings,
in which he suggested that she was a target in an “aggressive investigation” regarding
possible obstruction of justice charges against her for failure to comply with the subpoena
duces tecum, is itself questionable. A review of the transcript of Respondent’s grand jury
testimony reflects that Fina’s questioning plainly does not reflect any “aggressive
investigation” of possible criminal wrongdoing by Respondent. Other than having
Respondent confirm that neither Curley, Schultz nor Spanier provided her with any
Sandusky-related documents upon her request, Fina did not question Respondent
regarding the slow pace of Penn State’s production of documents responsive to the
subpoena duces tecum while Respondent was primarily responsible for compliance. In
this regard, it is significant that Fina asked Respondent no questions relating to the grand
jury’s finding, as set forth in its Grand Jury Presentment, that upon service of the
subpoena duces tecum on Penn State in January 2011, it had not been sent to Penn
State’s specialized SOS unit or any other information technology professionals to collect
documents (including emails) related to Sandusky matters. Grand Jury Presentment at
23. As previously described, Fina’s questioning of Respondent focused almost
exclusively on implicating Curley, Schultz and Spanier for their efforts to avoid the
disclosure of incriminating documents and not on any wrongdoing by Respondent.

The OAG's "Conspiracy of Silence" grand jury presentment, the Freeh Report, and Baldwin's statements/testimony about the gathering of evidence were misleading and/or untruthful.

Based on analysis of the OAG's questioning of Curley, Schultz, and Paterno at the January 2011 grand jury, it was obvious that Baldwin had provided Fina and former OAG prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach with the so-called "secret file" from Schultz's office.  To be clear,  she had complied with Subpoena 1179 in a timely manner.

Evidence from the July 2013 preliminary hearing of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier confirmed that Baldwin used the SOS to collect emails. 

PSU SOS employee John Corro confirmed that Baldwin approached her in March or April of 2011 to search for emails responsive to a grand jury subpoena.   He further testified that he provided 3 USB drives containing the emails to Baldwin.

At the Spanier grand jury colloquy of April 11, 2011, Baldwin admitted that the PSU IT department (a.k.a., the SOS) was gathering emails responsive to Subpoena 1179 and would gather additional emails from 1997 and earlier that were responsive to newly issued Subpoena 109. 

The former justice also told the court that all responsive materials would be provided to the court and the OAG by April 15, 2011. 

The Moulton Report confirmed that a USB drive of Penn State emails was provided to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) in July 2011. 

Baldwin Fought Release of Docs To Freeh in Dec 2011

Some have contended that the Penn State emails provided to the PSP did not contain the so-called "smoking gun" emails purportedly found by Louis Freeh.   Recall that Freeh claimed his team found the 1998 and 2001 emails in March 2012.

Freeh's claim went belly up when the diary of Kathleen McChesney revealed that 1998 emails were being distributed to key members of the Board of Trustees in February 2012 -- at least a month before Freeh's purported discovery of them.

The diary further revealed that that Baldwin possessed a large volume of documents related to the Sandusky case in her Old Main office and was reluctant to release them to Freeh's investigators.

Freeh's team had been trying to get the documents from Baldwin since December 12th and had become frustrated by the "delay/impasse."  On December 19th, Freeh reached out to Special Investigation Task Force Co-Chairs Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis to advise them of Baldwin's intransigence.

Baldwin's reluctance to provide documents to Freeh ultimately resulted in Fina sending a letter admonishing the PSU Counsel for her "lengthy history of non-compliance" with subpoenas.

The letter undoubtedly forced her hand.

The very next day, on December 20th, a diary entry shows that Freeh's team was headed to Baldwin's office with boxes to collect the materials.  Email correspondence from that time confirmed that "things were moving along."

The email chains also revealed the Fina's seemingly letter prompted Baldwin's "retirement" as PSU general counsel.

In February 2012, even though she turned over emails and documents to the OAG and Freeh, Baldwin told Freeh's investigators that she never searched for materials responsive to the grand jury subpoenas.

This evidence is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Baldwin's dishonesty during the scandal, but is certainly sufficient enough to show that the PA Supreme Court got it wrong.

Baldwin was not simply "in over her head" or merely "incompetent."

The evidence shows she was continuously dishonest about when and how the emails and documents related to the case were obtained and was part of the effort to frame PSU officials for conspiracy to obstruct the Sandusky investigation.


  1. Excellent analysis Ray. She should have been disbarred.

    1. Carole,
      Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words.

      Obviously, I agree with you.