MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Prosecutors have decided not to pursue a federal case against Jan Gangelhoff, whose disclosure of cheating led to a scandal in the men's basketball program at the University of Minnesota, her attorney said Wednesday.
Defense lawyer Fred Bruno said Joe Walker, a fraud prosecutor for the U.S. Justice Department, called him "out of the blue" Tuesday and told him the charges against Gangelhoff were being dropped.
Bruno said it had been more than a year since he had heard from prosecutors regarding Gangelhoff's case, which defense lawyers normally consider a good sign, but he was pleased to get the official notification.
"Normally these cases die a quiet death," Bruno said. "They never come and shake your hand or send a letter congratulating you."
Gangelhoff, who wrote more than 400 pieces of course work for about 20 Golden Gophers players, said she was surprised. She got the word from her other attorney, Jim Lord, who brought in Bruno when the matter turned into a criminal case.
"I am just elated," said Gangelhoff, who teaches at a tribal school on the Bad River Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. "I'm so happy and so relieved it's over. It's a huge, huge weight off my shoulders."
After negotiations between her attorneys and federal authorities, Gangelhoff pleaded guilty in September 2000 to one count of felony fraud in exchange for no prison time and an agreement to be a witness for the prosecution in possible cases against others.
However, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson criticized the plea agreement as "overly broad" and threw it out.
Bruno said he couldn't comment on whether prosecutors might have dropped their investigation of former coach Clem Haskins.
Ron Meshbesher, Haskins' attorney, said he had not spoken with Walker since Oct. 18 and did not know whether prosecutors had decided whether to charge his client.
Last week, Meshbesher and the university reached a tentative agreement that called for Haskins to repay some of the $1.5 million he received from the university when his contract was bought out in June 1999.
An arbitrator will set the amount by April 30, and that will be submitted to Hennepin County District Judge Deborah Hedlund for approval.
Gangelhoff, a former office manager of the men's athletic department's academic counseling unit, gave extensive testimony to university investigators. She turned over her computers and files so investigators were able to recover copies of most of the papers she wrote for players.
Lord said he was thrilled by the decision not to prosecute his client.
"She blew the whistle, and by doing so, she had to blow the whistle on herself, and it never made sense to me that it would merit a federal prosecution," he said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.