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Freeh Ordered To Turn Over Documents Requested By Paterno Estate

In the ongoing legal battle stemming from the release of the controversial Freeh Report in 2012, a judge has ordered Louis Freeh, his law firm, and Penn State to turn over the documents used to compile the 267-page report to the Paterno family. This advancement comes thanks to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania denying a Pepper Hamilton appeal requesting a stay in process.

In this chapter, the Paterno estate filed a lawsuit requesting access to the documents, and Potter County Senior Judge John Leete ordered Pepper Hamilton, the law firm that merged with Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan, and Penn State to oblige. The parties have appealed more than once, but the last round of appeals have failed, and the court officially vacated the stay on June 19, meaning the documents must be turned over.

If you’re a little confused about all of this legal semi-jargon, it basically means that even though Pepper Hamilton and Penn State requested more time to turn over the documents, the court got tired of waiting and told them it was time to hand them over. Yes, the court granted the time-out request for a little bit, but were not willing to be kept waiting forever, and denied an additional time-out. Interestingly, Pepper Hamilton now has another opportunity to appeal the subpoena to the state supreme court, but it is unknown whether or not they plan to do so, and the supreme court doesn’t even have to hear the appeal if it is in fact filed.

This is not the first request for these documents, and the Paterno estate is not the first party to go after them, though they are among the first to be granted access upon filing a lawsuit. When seven alumni-elected trustees made a move to acquire access to these documents, the university swiftly shut them down, stating an attempt to “honor the promises of confidentiality made.”

The alumni trustees felt the need to take legal action to obtain the documents, and thanks to a closed-door meeting held yesterday between the trustees and the Centre County Court, a timeline was laid out that allows for a decision to be made by October. Penn State has previously offered trustees access to the documents as long as they signed a confidentiality agreement, but the two parties couldn’t agree to the terms (for instance, Penn State wanted to disallow the trustees to discuss the documents with other trustees).

Photo: Mike Miciagno

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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