Judge John Cleland is done with Jerry Sandusky.
On Friday, the McKean County senior judge issued an order recusing himself from presiding further over anything involving the retired Penn State defensive coordinator’s ongoing attempts to gain a new trial or dismiss charges from his 2012 conviction on 45 of 48 child sex abuse counts.
He didn’t go without a parting shot, however.
“The defendant’s attorneys have impugned the competence and integrity of essentially everyone associated with the grand jury’s investigation into the defendant’s conduct, the defendant’s trial and conviction, and these post-conviction proceedings. Now they have chosen to impugn the integrity of the court itself,” Cleland wrote in an opinion issued with his order.
He cited a number of statements alleging perjury, lies to the jury and unfair bias made by Sandusky’s attorneys, Al Lindsay and Andrew Salemme, as they pursue a Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition. That particular appeal has included a number of evidentiary hearings in Bellefonte and repeated appearances by Sandusky over the past two years.
The order follows a request Cleland made earlier in the week asking the defense to clarify whether or not they intended to call him as a witness given repeated attention to a December 2011 meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn between Sandusky’s then-lawyer Joe Amendola, prosecutors and the judge.
Cleland said the attorneys told him they would not notify him of intent to call him as a witness or withdraw arguments related to the meeting because they did not want to waive the possibility of appeal. He called the argument “disingenuous.”
Cleland maintained that the off-the-record meeting in 2011 was not “in any way unethical.”