Lawyer for Ousted Penn State Prez Graham Spanier Will Lead Investigation Into L&I

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Well, this is odd. Yesterday Mayor Nutter finally announced the creation of a 16-member panel that will evaluate the Department of Licenses and Inspections, and the panel’s executive director will be former U.S. attorney Peter F. Vaira, an expert in organized crime and defense attorney for ousted Penn State president Graham Spanier.

Spanier, you might remember, was accused in the Freeh report of covering up allegations against Jerry Sandusky for more than a decade so that the school’s reputation and football program would not suffer. He was later charged with perjury, endangering the welfare of children, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and failure to report suspected child abuse.

Vaira defended his client vehemently, saying he was innocent of all crimes, and citing Spanier’s “good name and well-earned national reputation for integrity.” Along with two other of Spanier’s defense lawyers, Vaira wrote in a statement that the charges were part of a “politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man.”

Spanier now awaits trial for the charges, and is suing Louis Freeh for defamation.

Meanwhile, Vaira tells the Inquirer he wants to “bring the mayor a plan to make this the best L&I department in the United States,” and is working pro bono to make it happen. Somehow I’m guessing the Spanier case wasn’t a pro bono affair.

Nutter assembles panel to review L&I