WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer faced skeptical questioning Tuesday from three judges on the Pennsylvania appeals court over his client’s request they order a new trial in his child sexual-abuse case.
The arguments made on behalf of Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, include that his lawyers didn’t have time to prepare for trial; that a prosecutor made improper references to Sandusky not testifying; and that the judge mishandled jury instructions. The Superior Court judges did not indicate when they would rule.
Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state-prison sentence after being convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He was not in the courtroom for the argument session.
Sandusky lawyer Norris Gelman told the appeals court the trial judge should have addressed to jurors the length of time it took Sandusky’s victims to report their abuse, in some cases more than a decade.
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“No one told the jury, ‘Look, you have a 16-year delay here and that has an impact under the law,’ ” Gelman argued. “We’re talking severe, aggravated delay.”
James Barker of the attorney general’s office said jurors were fully informed about the delay issue, even if that did not take the form of a jury instruction.
Gelman said the case was rushed to trial, with a huge volume of material from prosecutors swamping the defense. But Barker said the material could be contained in two boxes, and the defense team was told that much of what they asked for was not relevant to the trial.
“They ignored that. They wanted it, and so they wasted their time,” Barker said. “That’s not our fault; it’s not the trial judge’s fault.”