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Sandusky Pretrial Hearing: Judge Blocks Defense From Appealing Delay of Trial to Higher Court

by on May 30, 2012 12:04 PM

Updated at 6:25 p.m.

Judge John Cleland issued an order following Wednesday's pre-trial hearing that blocked the defense from appealing further delay of the trial to a higher court.

He already had denied the defense's earlier motion for an appeal, which the order certified. 

The trial begins Tuesday with jury selection at 8:30 a.m. at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

Updated at 2:07 p.m.

Judge John Cleland made no rulings Wednesday following arguments at a pre-trial hearing from the prosecution and defense, the latter of which requested charges against Jerry Sandusky in regards to Victims 2, 6 and 8 be thrown out. 

The witness, a former janitor at Penn State, is not available to testify as he now suffers from dementia. Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, said as he previously wrote in a motion, that any evidence presented having to do with Victim 8 should be regarded as hearsay.

Frank Fina, a prosecutor from the Attorney General's Office, used precedent to argue keeping the charges regarding Victim 8. He said that has been permitted in cases before. 

Regarding charges having to do with Victim 2, Cleland said he assumes Mike McQueary should be able to give more ample testimony than he did before the grand jury in 2011. 

After both parties stated their case, court adjoined, having lasted just under 30 minutes. Cleland will issue orders at a later date. The trial is set to begin Tuesday with jury selection.

Earlier at 12:04 p.m.

Judge John Cleland explained why he denied Jerry Sandusky's request to further delay the trial Wednesday morning. 

Only hours before the scheduled 1:30 p.m. pretrial hearing to resolve any outstanding issues left between litigating parties, Cleland filed an order that supported his denial of the defense's motion for continuance. 

Cleland said that the circumstances Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola presented in the motion cannot be resolved by pushing back the trial again because the court does not have power over the Supervising Judge of the grand jury to compel the grand jury to release the conclusions of its investigations, nor does the court need to wait for an outside expert jury consultant to start jury selection. 

Cleland said he has faith in Amendola and Karl Rominger's expertise in selecting a jury, given their experience in Centre County. 

There is no basis to delay the trial because of Tim Curley's and Gary Schultz's pledge to plead the fifth had they been summoned as witnesses for the defense, Cleland said, since there is no possibility that they will testify.

Alleged Victim No. 6 also filed a motion in conjunction with that of alleged victim Nos. 3 and 7 for identity protection during the trial and when on the witness stand. 

On Tuesday, alleged victim Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 7 filed to protect their identity and garnered the support of seven organizations that said not only is it a victim's federal and state right to use a pseudonym during testimony, but it does not violate the rights of the defendant nor the public. 

Sandusky, his defense counsel, prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office and Cleland met in the third floor annex Tuesday afternoon in an unscheduled meeting. No comment was offered following the meeting. 

The former Penn State football assistant coach, 68, faces 52 charges in a child sex abuse case and maintains his innocence. 

The trial is scheduled to start Tuesday starting with jury selection at 8:30 a.m. That is expected to take about two weeks. Regardless, the court filing shows the trial will not start before June 11.

Stay with and follow @LC_Nichols on Twitter for live coverage during Wednesday afternoon's hearing. 

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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