Sandusky Defense Wants Criminal Counts Thrown Out, Seeks Delay for Trial
UPDATED @ 11:28 p.m. March 22: Sandusky attorney Joseph Amendola is, in fact, seeking the dismissal of all charges against his client. An earlier version of this report incorrectly reported he sought only a partial dismissal of charges. The coverage below has been updated and corrected.
UPDATED @ 4:16 p.m. March 22: Jerry Sandusky's lead attorney, Joseph Amendola, has asked Judge John M. Cleland to throw out all criminal counts against his client, arguing the state prosecution has failed to show and share sufficient evidence in pretrial proceedings.
In his omnibus pretrial motion Thursday, Amendola argued that Sandusky, without more details from prosecutors, is unable to build an adequate defense against many of the accusations. And that, Amendola wrote, violates Sandusky's constitutional rights.
The motion, released via the Centre County website, spans 95 pages and includes a variety of supporting documents. Prosecutors have argued that, in many instances, they simply cannot provide the defense with more specifics. Some of the identified victims have imprecise memories, in large part due to the passage of time and the nature of the crimes, the prosecution has said.
Sandusky, 68, a former Penn State football coach, is charged with abusing 10 youths in the sexual abuse case. He has maintained that he is innocent.
Counts involving eight of the identified victims should be tossed in part -- at least -- because of the statute of limitations, Amendola argued.
Among his other requests in the pretrial motion:
- The trial should be delayed for a number of reasons, Amendola argued, though he did not ask for a specific trial date. He wrote the defense needs to work through a voluminous amount of material provided by the prosecution in a discovery phase. Plus, some key defense witnesses won't be available to testify in May, when a trial is tentatively expected to begin, Amendola noted.
Additionally, he wrote, former Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz will be instrumental witnesses for the defense. But they're expected to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights if called to testify before their anticipated trial, Amendola wrote. That, too, would hinder the Sandusky defense, he argued. (Curley and Schultz are charged with perjury and failure to report in connection with the Sandusky matter. They have maintained they are innocent, as well.)
- Amendola is seeking a variety of additional pre-trial information from state prosecutors. He also has asked that the jury in the trial be sequestered. Jury selection is expected to take as many as two weeks, and potential jurors should be questioned heavily, Amendola wrote.
- Cleland should suppress certain pieces of evidence, Amendola argued. Those include materials seized during a state search of Sandusky's College Township home in June 2011 and some statements recorded during a 1998 investigation led by Penn State police. Amendola cited procedural concerns on both fronts.
The full text of the pretrial motion is available via the Centre County website. Earlier coverage is posted below.
Earlier report, posted @ 3:17 p.m. March 22:
Jerry Sandusky's defense team is seeking at least a partial dismissal of charges against Sandusky, according to an omnibus pretrial motion released Thursday.
Prosecution-provided details about Sandusky's contact with a number of alleged victims are "so general and non-specific that (Sandusky) cannot adequately prepare a defense to those charges," the filing reads.
It was prepared by Sandusky attorney Joseph Amendola.
"The commonwealth has failed to provide the dates of the commission of (some) alleged offenses with reasonable certainty and with sufficient particularity in order for (Sandusky) to adequately prepare his defense," Amendola wrote.
In addition, he wrote, state prosecutors have "advised (they) cannot provide more specific information and details as to times, dates and locations of (some) alleged offenses, thus violating the notions of fundamental fairness embedded in our legal process."
The full text of the Sandusky motion is posted via the Centre County website. The document, including supporting materials, is 95 pages long.
StateCollege.com will post a more thorough report shortly.
Sandusky, 68, of College Township is charged with 52 criminal counts in the child sexual abuse case. State prosecutors have identified 10 alleged victims. Sandusky has maintained that he is innocent. Jury selection for his anticipated trial is set for May 14.