HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer on Wednesday asked for a delay in the former Penn State assistant football coach’s child sex-abuse trial, saying he needed more time to prepare and that he was still waiting for disclosure of prosecution material.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola argued in a 13-page motion that without more time, he was worried he would be “unable to effectively and adequately” represent Sandusky. Amendola said he was still waiting for material from prosecutors.
Judge John Cleland has previously indicated he was reluctant to push back the trial, currently scheduled to begin June 5 in Bellefonte. A hearing on defense subpoenas and pretrial discovery disputes between the defense and prosecutors was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Cleland could, or would, rule on the new motion at the hearing.
A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office declined to comment. Cleland has imposed a partial gag order on lawyers in the case.
Sandusky, 68, is confined to his State College home to await the start of his trial on 52 criminal counts involving 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky has denied the allegations.
Amendola told the judge that he has made 50 requests for records or other material from the attorney general’s office, and has not received a response concerning the most recent 14 requests.
In a separate motion, Amendola asked Cleland to direct prosecutors to provide paper copies of computer records he has been given, including phone records taken from the office of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
Amendola said in the delay request that the defense team needs more time to find and interview witnesses, and that pending criminal charges against two potential witnesses, Penn State administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, have made them unavailable as witnesses in June.
Lawyers for Curley, the school’s athletic director now on leave, and Schultz, the retired vice president who supervised campus police, have indicated their clients will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify if called.
The primary topic of Wednesday’s hearing was expected to be the use of defense subpoenas, as school districts and government agencies have asked him to throw them out.
Challenges to defense subpoenas have been filed by three central Pennsylvania school districts, two county child welfare agencies, Juniata College and three state agencies.
It’s not clear how many pretrial discovery conflicts still exist between the attorney general’s office and Sandusky’s attorneys. Prosecutors on Monday filed a court document telling Cleland that much of the material sought by Sandusky has already been provided and that dozens of other requests are not subject to mandatory disclosure.
The charges against Sandusky concern his relationships with boys he met through his charity for at-risk kids, The Second Mile, between 1994 and 2008. Prosecutors allege Sandusky groomed the boys for sexual abuse, offering gifts and access to the team in addition to companionship.
At least some of the alleged abuse happened in the Penn State football team’s facilities, prosecutors said. One of the alleged attacks was witnessed by former receivers coach Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant.
The ensuing scandal led to the firing of Paterno and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier.