Attorneys for Jerry Sandusky are asking for a new trial for the convicted child molester, arguing, among other things, that the defense team didn’t have time to prepare for trial.
The 31-page filing offered a long list of reasons the defense said the court erred during the trial, which ended with a jury finding the former Penn State football coach guilty on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Insufficient evidence, not enough time to prepare, the inability to use a jury consultant, a jury that wasn’t sequestered and the judge’s decision not to allow certain testimony are some of the reasons the defense listed. The filing went on to say there may be even more reasons to file a post-sentence motion and asks for another 14 days for the defense to do so.
“The court’s denial of the defendant’s motions for continuance prevented defendant’s counsel from having the needed time to prepare the defendant’s cases and interfered with defendant’s constitutional right to counsel,” one of the motions argued.
Attorneys for the former Penn State football coach filed the post-sentence motions in Centre County court Thursday as part of the appeals process. Along with Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger, a third lawyer who was not part of the team during Sandusky’s trial — Philadelphia-based Norris Gelman — has been added to the defense team.
The legal team today argued for a new trial on numerous grounds, including several related to Victim 8, an unidentified child who was assaulted by Sandusky in a Penn State shower in 1998, according to testimony from a Penn State janitor.
The attorneys said the court erred when it allowed the state to introduce testimony from that janitor regarding what another janitor said he had seen. The janitor testified that a coworker — who couldn’t appear in court because of his medical condition — told him he saw a man performing oral sex on a boy. The janitor who testified saw Sandusky leaving the shower with a boy.
And, Sandusky’s attorneys argued the court erred when it didn’t dismiss the counts involving Victim 8 because the prosecution did not establish a time frame for those particular charges.
The appeal also argued that the court’s denial of three motions of continuance filed by Amendola and Rominger violated Sandusky’s due process. Amendola has said that the defense didn’t have enough time to prepare for trial, including going through thousands of pages of documents and interviewing potential witnesses.
Added to that, the jury consultant the defense wanted to use wasn’t available at the time of trial and a consultant on sexual disorders didn’t have enough time to review the material to assist the defense.
Sandusky’s legal team also argued that:
the state conducted secret background checks on the 600 potential jurors and that the court erred by not making the state turn over that information over to the defense;
information on some charges wasn’t specific enough for the defense to adequately prepare for trial;
the statute of limitations had expired on some charges because the offenses allegedly occurred before an expanded statute that took effect Aug. 27, 2002;
the court erred when it didn’t let the defense lawyers withdraw as Sandusky’s attorneys;
the jury should have been sequestered and could have been exposed to news reports including allegations that Sandusky had sexually abused his adopted son; and
Judge John Cleland’s sentence, given Oct. 9, of 30 to 60 years was excessive .
The defense lawyers go on to say there may be additional grounds for a post-sentence motion. And, they reserved the right to file ineffective counsel claims.
A spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office said the filing is being reviewed.
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follower her on Twitter @AnneDanahy