Report: Paterno sought criminal defense lawyer

Embattled former Penn State coach Joe Paterno has contacted a criminal defense attorney in the child sex abuse case that has rocked the university, NBC News has reported.

A source told NBC that Paterno's advisers Thursday reached out to J. Sedgwick Sollers, who had previously represented President George H.W. Bush. NBC said that the attorney has not met with the ex-coach and no retainer agreement has been formalized.

Paterno is not charged with any crimes in connection with the case, but was fired late Wednesday for his role, and said that he regretted not doing more after learning about allegations against ex-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandunsky.

Sollers offered no comment on Thursday and Paterno's spokesman said via email that "no lawyer has been retained." Paterno's son, Scott, also wrote on Twitter Thursday evening: "To be clear, no lawyer has been retained. Not sure where that report originated."

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Paterno has not been criminally charged in the child sex abuse case surrounding his former coach, Jerry Sandusky, and is reportedly viewed as a cooperating witness in the matter. He was firedas Penn State's coach late Wednesday evening by the university's trustees.

Paterno, along with the school, could still face trouble legally. "All of the officials involved in the scandal, including Paterno, could be sued in a civil case by the alleged victims and their families," said CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen, "and if that happens, and the case doesn't settle quickly, we'll likely see a lot of finger-pointing between and among the defendants."

Along with his job as head football coach at Penn State, Paterno may also lose a shot at the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Pennsylvania's U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, a Republican, and Bob Casey, a Democrat, said Thursday they are rescinding their support for Paterno's nomination for the nation's highest civilian honor, citing recent events at the school.

Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson also nominated Paterno earlier this year, but wouldn't say Thursday whether he would also withdraw Paterno's name.

The trio submitted Paterno's name in September, citing his contributions to athletics and higher education.

Meanwhile, Penn State's trip to the Alamo Bowl in 1999 has attracted the interest of Texas.

San Antonio police Sgt. Chris Benavides said Thursday his department is "looking into the possibility that an offense may have happened" while the football team was in town.

Sandusky faces child sex abuse charges in Pennsylvania. A grand jury report says Sandusky took one boy he allegedly molested to the game and threatened to send him home when the victim resisted his advances.

The Alamo Bowl was Sandusky's last game at Penn State, where he coached for more than 30 years and was once the heir apparent to Joe Paterno.

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