Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

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Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up abuse complaints about Jerry Sandusky lost a set of rulings Tuesday, allowing their criminal cases to move forward.

Judge Barry Feudale denied an attempt to throw out the grand jury report backing up the accusations and ruled against two other defense requests. As the judge who oversaw the grand jury, Feudale said he no longer has jurisdiction.

Feudale said he would not have granted the defendants' request that the charges be thrown out and emphasized that the case was out of his hands once the grand jury issued its report. But the judge did provide an analysis of the defense arguments that, he said, led him to conclude their motions lacked merit.

Defendants Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier are charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

The three had sought to exclude the testimony of Penn State's former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, based on her actions as she accompanied the men to grand jury appearances in Harrisburg in early 2011. The defendants argued that Baldwin's actions violated their right to legal counsel, but Feudale said it "strains credulity to infer that they were somehow deluded or misrepresented by attorney Baldwin."

"In hindsight, perhaps I erred in not asking follow up questions about the role of corporate counsel Baldwin," Feudale wrote. "I regret and perhaps committed error in not asking any follow-up questions, but while I am unaware what the response would have been, I fail to discern how such would persuade me at this stage why presentments should be dismissed."

The attorney general's office and a spokeswoman for Curley's legal team offered no immediate comment. Lawyers for Spanier and Schultz did not immediately return phone messages.

Sandusky, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June of abusing several boys, some on campus. Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence but maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

Curley is on paid leave to finish out the final year of his contract as the school's athletic director. Schultz has retired as the university's vice president for business and finance. Spanier was forced out as university president the week after the other two and Sandusky were charged, but he remains a tenured faculty member.

The grand jury's report described in detail the behind-the-scenes conversations and decisions being made in late 2010 and in 2011 among the men, as Baldwin met with them after they were subpoenaed as part of the Sandusky investigation.

"Each personally and directly assured her that they knew of no information or documents involving alleged misconduct or inappropriate conduct by Jerry Sandusky," the grand jury wrote.

Baldwin testified to the grand jury that Spanier "specifically requested that she keep him informed of everything regarding (the Sandusky) investigation," the jury wrote.

In November, Curley and Schultz joined together to file one motion to prevent Baldwin from taking the stand against them.

The motion said Baldwin had violated attorney-client privilege by disclosing what they told her about the Sandusky matter, and that lawyers may not testify against their clients. Spanier filed a similar motion and made a similar argument.

Feudale said his review of Baldwin's testimony led him to conclude it was "circumspect and circumscribed. It was not a violation of the lawyer-client privilege, but rather was related to her belated awareness of the commission of alleged criminal acts and was in accordance with her responsibilities as an officer of the court."

Baldwin, who spent two years on the state Supreme Court, appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell, is also a former chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees. The university replaced her as general counsel last year.

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left, and top-seeded North Carolina held off Kentucky 75-73 to earn the Tar Heels' second straight trip to the Final Four and 20th all-time in Sunday's showdown of college basketball's elite in the South Regional.

The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ Oregon on Saturday in Phoenix in the national semifinal.

North Carolina took control with a 12-0 run within the final 5 minutes. Kentucky's freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk hit three quick 3s, the last two by Monk and his second with 7.2 seconds left tied it up at 73.

Theo Pinson brought the ball down, passed back to Maye. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, knocked it down for the win with his feet on the 3-point line.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Derek Willis' inbound pass went out of bounds on the far end.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year.

South Carolina beats Florida to reach first Final Four
NEW YORK -- It's only right that South Carolina's first trip to Final Four was earned through its defense.

A team known for a swarming zone used it effectively down the stretch to beat Florida 77-70 on Sunday and win the East Regional at Madison Square Garden.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points for the seventh-seeded Gamecocks (26-10) against the fourth-seeded Gators (27-9) in the all-Southeastern Conference matchup.

South Carolina will face Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed from the West Regional, in the Final Four on Saturday at Glendale, Arizona.

"Gamecock Nation, we heard you loud and clear," coach Frank Martin roared as the team prepared to cut down the nets. "We'll see you in Phoenix."

The game was as close as expected until the final minute. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change came on two free throws by Thornwell with 2:24 left that made it 65-63. Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. It seemed Thornwell, who scored eight straight points for the Gamecocks, was always where he needed to be including making a steal with 40 seconds left that turned into a 73-68 lead.

"I just made plays," Thornwell said. "Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays."

"Thornwell was just being Thornwell," Florida coach Mike White said of the SEC player of the year. "He's one of the best players in the country."

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

It all totaled to a Final Four trip for Martin, he of the booming voice and terrifying faces.

Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators who managed a 40-33 halftime lead on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. But that was it. Florida was 0 for 14 from beyond the arc in the second half, a lot like the 0-for-17 effort the Gators had in their first meeting with South Carolina this season.

South Carolina, which forced Florida into 16 turnovers, finished 23 for 31 from the free throw line, including a 9-for-10 effort from Thornwell.

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tyler Dorsey poured in 27 points, Dillon Brooks added 17 and plucky Oregon ended Kansas' romp through the NCAA Tournament with a 74-60 victory Saturday night that gave the Ducks their first Final Four trip in nearly 80 years.

Dylan Ennis added 12 points for the Ducks (33-5), who took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed again, giving coach Dana Altman his first trip to the national semifinals.

They'll face the winner of Sunday's game between North Carolina and Kentucky in Glendale, Arizona.

Player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III had 21 points in his final game for the Jayhawks (31-5), who had rolled to the Elite Eight by an average margin of 30 points. But their dream season ended with a thud just 40 minutes from campus on a night where very little went right (see full recap).

Gonzaga beats Xavier to reach 1st Final Four
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona (see full recap).