Barring any “extraordinary circumstances,” it appears the national media circus will descend upon Bellefonte in May after all.
That’s because a judge Wednesday denied Jerry Sandusky’s request to push back his trial until the summer. Senior Judge John Cleland said there’s still two-and-a-half months for the defense to prepare before being in court.
Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, asked the judge to postpone the trial until mid-July. He said he needed more time to locate and interview witnesses and have potential expert witnesses review the case.
But Cleland said the defense and the prosecution agreed on a May trial date back in January and said the sides worked backward to schedule deadlines for pre-trial matters.
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“Absent extraordinary circumstances presented by either the commonwealth or the defendant, postponement of the trial date will only be considered if required by the demands of selecting a jury and providing for their care, conflicting demands on courtroom space, or similar logistical complications,” Cleland said.
Cleland wrote in his eight-page memo that delaying the trial should be the last resort if other matters can’t be figured out. Furthermore, Cleland wrote he would need clearer reasons to justify a delay than what was requested.
In addition, the judge said prosecutors will have to give the defense the addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses identified in discovery materials. The prosecution can object to that in writing.
Amendola said the defense will push ahead and be ready to present his case when the trial begins.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office declined comment.
Jury selection is scheduled for Monday, May 14. The judge previously ruled that a Centre County jury will hear the case.
Sandusky, 68, remains under house arrest awaiting trial on 52 counts of abusing young boys he met through The Second Mile between 1994 and 2008. He denies the allegations.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.