The Washington Post

Paterno hires D.C. criminal defense attorney Wick Sollers

Joe Paterno, former head coach of the Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Sollers is the managing partner of King & Spalding’s Washington office and former chair of the firm’s government investigations practice. He is an experienced trial attorney who regularly represents companies in civil and criminal investigations and in the 1990’s, he represented George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra investigation.

A spokesperson for King & Spalding confirmed that Sollers is representing Paterno, but declined to comment further.

Scott Paterno released this statement on behalf of his father late Friday:

Like everyone who has watched this story unfold, my father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions. He is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answer questions.

At this stage, however, he has no choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process. He cooperated fully with the Grand Jury and he will continue to cooperate with the investigation as we move forward.

On behalf of my father, I have retained Wick Sollers at the law firm of King and Spalding. My father’s desire is for the truth to be uncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end. Going forward, Mr. Sollers has directed my father, our family and everyone associated with us to make no further public statements and to respond to no media inquiries. We will honor this request. Accordingly, all requests for comments or other information should be directed to Mr. Sollers.

Sollers’ contemporaries in Washington’s criminal defense circles describe him as a solid and experienced white collar defense attorney.

“Wick is a great lawyer and he’s got great judgment,” said Graeme Bush, chairman of D.C. litigation boutique Zuckerman Spaeder, which specializes in white collar defense. “I don’t know how much real criminal exposure Paterno has, but if he has any, that’s a great hire.”

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has said that Paterno, who has testified before the grand jury and has not been charged in connection with the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, would not be a target of the investigation.

NBC News first reported late Thursday that Paterno had reached out to Sollers.

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.



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