Feb 11, 5:55 PM EST

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Penn State’s ex-president has sued the university, saying it reneged on an agreement they struck when he stepped down in 2011, and filed another claiming former FBI director Louis Freeh defamed him through a blisteringly critical report about how the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal was handled.

The two lawsuits by Graham Spanier were filed in the county courthouse near State College on Wednesday, about three weeks after a state appeals court dismissed several of the more serious criminal charges over his response to complaints about Sandusky and Spanier’s related grand jury testimony.

Spanier accused Penn State of violating a non-disparagement agreement made when he resigned under pressure shortly after Sandusky was first charged. Spanier’s lawsuit alleges that he has been unfairly vilified by the report and by statements critical of him by university trustees.

“The false, malicious and disparaging statements regarding Spanier impugn his well-earned reputation as an educator, university administrator, civic leader, advocate for child and family welfare, and national security expert – and they undermine public confidence in his competence, ethics and abilities in these areas,” his lawyers wrote.

Spanier also filed a 112-page complaint against former FBI director Louis Freeh, his law firm and Freeh Group International Solutions over the July 2012 report they produced for Penn State. The report concluded that Spanier, two of his top lieutenants in the Penn State administration and former head football coach Joe Paterno concealed key facts about Sandusky to avoid bad publicity.

“During his tenure as president of Penn State, Dr. Spanier never received any information that Sandusky had abused a child,” the lawsuit states. It said Freeh and his team were “determined to transform Dr. Spanier from a pre-eminent academic administrator to a conspirator who enabled a serial pedophile,” ignoring evidence to the contrary.

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Legal filings




House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime | July 1997 | THE ACTIVITIES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, PART III

    Today the subcommittee holds the third and final hearing in a series of oversight hearings concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    One year ago, on July 27, 1996, a bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia at approximately 1:20 a.m. One person was killed by the blast. Another person died as a result of the commotion following the explosion. And more than 100 people were injured.
    Coming, as it did, in the middle of the summer Olympics, the explosion drew international attention. Despite the efforts of hundreds of Federal, State and local law enforcement officials, this crime remains unsolved.

    On January 16 and February 21 this year, two other bombings occurred in Atlanta. Federal officials now believe that one or more persons may have been responsible for all the bombings. Yet these other crimes also remain unsolved.

    One year ago today, the news media, first in Atlanta and then across the Nation, named Richard Jewell as a prime suspect in the bombing. Mr. Jewell had been employed as a private security guard during the Olympics and discovered the green knapsack which contained the bomb. Mr. Jewell reported the knapsack to authorities and helped to move spectators in the park away from the site where the bomb when it blasted occurred.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Jewell’s actions saved the lives and helped to significantly reduce the number of persons who were injured by the bomb blast. Despite his actions, information provided to the FBI by a number of sources caused agents to decide to investigate Mr. Jewell further and then to seek to interview him. That interview was held at the Atlanta office of the FBI.

    During the course of the interview, it appears that the agents used what has now been referred to as a ruse or a ploy to induce Mr. Jewell to agree even to the interview itself or at least to agree to the taping of the interview. During the course of the interview, Director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, gave an order to supervisors in Atlanta that Miranda warnings were to be given to Mr. Jewell. The manner in which the agents gave those warnings to Mr. Jewell has been the subject of much discussion and speculation, and is a key aspect of our hearing today.

    Specifically, the subcommittee has a number of questions which it will put to the witnesses before it.

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CNN December 1996 | FBI chief can’t explain media leaks in Olympic bombing

Internal investigation under way

December 19, 1996
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) — FBI Director Louis Freeh testified Thursday he does not yet know how information identifying security guard Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing last July was leaked to the news media.

In late October, Jewell was cleared by the Justice Department of any involvement in the bombing.

Saying he had “zero tolerance” for leaks, Freeh told the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information he was “mystified” that anyone in law enforcement would “disrespect the criminal justice process.” (30 sec. /736K AIFF orWAV sound)

At least 500 people in 11 agencies — including the FBI — knew about the investigation of Jewell, he said.

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Hollywood Reporter Feb 2014 | Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill Reteaming for Atlanta Olympics Drama

Fox has picked up the rights to the Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell” for the duo to star in and produce.

After teaming up successfully — critically and financially — for The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are partnering again. This time, they will tell the true story of Richard Jewell, the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Fox has picked up the rights to the Vanity Fair article The Ballad of Richard Jewell, written by Marie Brenner, for the duo to star in.

DiCaprio will produce the adaptation with his partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Hill and Kevin Misher, who initially optioned the material.

Jewell was working as a security guard at the ’96 Summer Games when he discovered a backpack containing pipe bombs, subsequently sounding the alarm and helping to clear the area. However, the bomb did detonate, killing one person and injuring dozens of others.

Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell was soon the prime suspect, as the FBI searched his home twice. A media frenzy painted him as an overweight failed cop and mama’s boy, and he became the punchline for late-night jokes.

After being raked over the coals by the media, Jewell was cleared, but the damage had been done. Lawsuits followed (against NBC and CNN, among several others), and the FBI and other government agencies were forced to make public apologies.

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Grantland January 2014: ‘Judging Jewell’

On Saturday, July 27, 1996, a terrorist’s bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park at the Atlanta Summer Games, killing two and injuring 111. The toll would have been far higher if not for security guard Richard Jewell, who discovered the bag holding the bomb and helped clear the area. Yet within hours, praise of his heroism turned to vicious accusations. Jewell would be hounded for months by investigations and the media. Eventually, the FBI would capture and convict Eric Robert Rudolph for the crime. Judging Jewell revisits the scene in Atlanta where Richard Jewell, a man simply doing his job, lost the one thing he valued most — his honor.

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