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Sandusky due in court for defense challenges about trial

In this Oct. 9, 2012, photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is taken from the Centre County Courthouse by Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau, left, and a deputy, after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is led from the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in Bellefonte, Pa., Oct. 9, 2012.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file

(CBS/AP) HARRISBURG, Pa. - Jerry Sandusky is expected in court Thursday for a hearing about whether his lawyers had enough time to prepare for his child sex abuse trial, and other defense claims about the fairness of his proceedings.

PICTURES: Jerry Sandusky gets 30 to 60 years in prison

The hearing in Bellefonte for the ex-Penn State assistant football coach serving 30-to-60 years in prison is to address a set of legal challenges, including his lawyers' claim that a deluge of prosecution materials swamped the defense.

Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, arrived Wednesday at the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte. He is serving his sentence at Greene State Prison southwest Pennsylvania, nearly 200 miles away. The 68-year-old maintains his innocence.

In a recent brief, Sandusky's lawyers said the state Supreme Court has ruled that defense attorneys have to undertake "reasonable investigations" or make decisions that those investigations aren't needed.

"Given the vast amount of material the prosecution turned over at the 11th hour, it is clear counsel could not come close to fulfilling this obligation," wrote attorneys Joe Amendola and

Norris Gelman. "Counsel had no time to review the aforesaid material in search of persons who could testify to the poor reputation for truthfulness on the part of any of the complainants,

any alibi, or any connection between the complainants that would impair their credibility."

The defense lawyers asked for the hearing to develop that issue with testimony and exhibits as they seek a new trial.

The attorney general's office argued in a brief last week that Sandusky and his attorney knew in 2008 that there had been a report of a sexual assault, there was no breakdown in communication between them, and the case rested on the credibility of the victims.

Sandusky "identifies not a single act that counsel could have performed or a single piece of information that would have been learned with more time before trial that would have had any impact whatsoever on the jury's consideration of the evidence," wrote prosecutor James Barker.

The defense lawyers also are challenging hearsay testimony by a janitorial supervisor who told jurors that a co-worker had seen Sandusky raping a boy known as Victim 8, who has never been identified by authorities. They argue that the trial judge should have issued jury instructions on how long it took victims to report their abuse.

And they say some of the charges were so general and nonspecific that they should have been dismissed.

Complete coverage of Jerry Sandusky on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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