Monday, May 21, 2018

Jerry Sandusky's lawyers argue for new trial

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky emerged from prison to attend a hearing 200 miles away at which his lawyers argued Thursday he deserves a new trial on child molestation charges because they didn't have enough time to prepare for the first one.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach played no active role in the proceedings, but briefly greeted his wife and supporters beforehand.

At the hearing in Centre County court in Bellefonte, Sandusky's lawyers cited flaws in the trial, including that they were swamped by about 12,000 pages of documents and other materials, that Judge John Cleland should have instructed jurors about the years it took for victims to report he had abused them, and that hearsay evidence was improperly allowed.

But prosecutors countered by showing most of the documents and records were not relevant to the trial. They also got lead defense attorney Joe Amendola to acknowledge that he did not find any he would have used when he reviewed them after the trial.

"Where's the harm?" the judge asked Sandusky defense lawyer Norris Gelman. "That's where I'm hung up on this one."

Cleland did not indicate when he might rule. If Sandusky does not get a new trial — he is also asking to have charges thrown out entirely — he can then appeal to Superior Court, and has indicated he will.

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence at a state prison. He has maintained his innocence, but his arrest tarnished Penn State's vaunted football program and led to the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno.

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