published Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Sandusky asks judge to postpone his June 5 trial

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky's lawyer today sought to delay the former Penn State assistant football coach's child sex-abuse trial, saying he needed more time to prepare and that he was still waiting for disclosure of prosecution material.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola argued in a 13-page motion that without more time, he was worried he would be "unable to effectively and adequately" represent Sandusky. Amendola said he was still waiting for material from prosecutors.

The request comes a month before Judge John Cleland and the attorneys were set to pick jurors in Centre County to hear the case. Cleland has said before that he was reluctant to postpone the trial.

It wasn't clear if Cleland could rule on the motion during a hearing set for Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

That hearing was to focus on the disputes remaining between Amendola and prosecutors about turning over evidence before the June trial.

The other major topic expected to be addressed before Cleland is the use of defense subpoenas, as school districts and government agencies have asked him to throw them out.

Challenges to defense subpoenas have been filed by three central Pennsylvania school districts, the Clinton County and Centre County child welfare agencies, Juniata College, and the state departments of Labor and Industry, Public Welfare and Corrections.

It's not clear how many pretrial discovery conflicts still exist between the attorney general's office and Sandusky's attorneys. Prosecutors on Monday filed a court document telling Cleland that much of the material sought by Sandusky has already been provided and that dozens of other requests are not subject to mandatory disclosure.

Sandusky, 68, is confined to his State College home to await the June 5 start of his trial on 52 criminal counts involving 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky has denied the allegations.

The charges against Sandusky concern his relationships with boys he met through his charity for at-risk kids, The Second Mile, between 1994 and 2008. Prosecutors allege Sandusky groomed the boys for sexual abuse, offering gifts and access to the team in addition to companionship.

At least some of the alleged abuse happened in the Penn State football team's facilities, prosecutors said. One of the alleged attacks was witnessed by former receivers coach Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant.

The ensuing scandal led to the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier. Two other university officials are charged with failing to report suspected abuse and perjury related to their grand jury testimony.

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