By Harry Allison

Penn State won the Big 10 title last year and they are challenging for the national championship this season.

But off the field the Nits’ athletic department is engaged in yet another battle in a court of law.

Two attorneys for Penn State students charged in connection with the death of Tim Piazza yesterday ripped the role of a trainer who was inside the fraternity during the drunken party.

Evan Kelly, the attorney for Craig Heimer, said his client expected that Tim Bream would be supervising the pledge night activities.

Kelly said Bream had weekly meetings with the executive board of the Beta Theta Pi chapter, was informed about parties in advance and in a bombshell: Kelly alleged that Bream “personally approved the gauntlet,” which was an alcohol-chugging obstacle course.

Specifically, Kelly asked State College Detective David Scicchitano: “Are you aware that Mr. Bream personally approved the gauntlet?”

But the detective did not answer. Instead, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller objected to the relevance since Bream had not been charged in the case.

Kelly maintained that Bream’s role negated the prima facia case against his client on charges of reckless endangerment, hazing, and furnishing alcohol to minors. Heimer allegedly purchased the alcohol for the pledge night party.

Parks Miller said the information didn’t invalidate the prima facia case against Heimer, rather, it could represent a prima facia case against Bream.

She invited Kelly to share whatever evidence he has against Bream, and said that could be a topic for another day. In the meantime, she said the case should go forward against Heimer.

“He is responsible for what he does,” Parks Miller said. “Who he lives with doesn’t exonerate him for crimes he personally committed.”

The exchange represented the second time that Bream’s role was ripped by a defense attorney.

Earlier in the day, Leonard G. Ambrose III, attorney for defendant Joseph Sala, questioned how Bream, 58, who lived on the second-floor of the fraternity as an advisor, could have remained oblivious to more than 100 people filling the house Feb. 2.

Ambrose asked State College Detective David Scicchitano about Bream’s lack of intervention and knowledge about what was going on inside the house that night.

“This is the highest-ranking person in the house,” Ambrose said, yet Bream claimed no knowledge of alcohol consumption inside the house through repeated parties.

“Not once. Not twice. But three times?” Ambrose said of the three alcohol-fueled recruitment parties that occurred before the fateful pledge night where Piazza suffered a series of falls that left him mortally wounded.

Ambrose recently obtained a subpoena to try to compel Bream to testify in the case, a new wrinkle that emerged Thursday on day four of the preliminary hearing. It’s unclear if, or when, Bream might testify.

Ambrose said Bream watched from a balcony as pledges were lead upstairs to begin the “gauntlet,” which involved four stations where pledges chugged vodka, beer and wine.

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