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Pa. judge denies Jerry Sandusky's request to postpone sex abuse trial

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sits in the back seat of his attorney's car as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Dec. 13, 2011.
Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Dec. 13, 2011. AP Photo

(CBS/AP) HARRISBURG, Pa. - On Wednesday, the judge in Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse case rejected a defense attorney's request for a two-month delay. He also indicated he was reluctant to push back the May 14 start of jury selection.

Pictures: Who's who in the Penn State abuse scandal

Judge John Cleland's memo and order said a postponement should only be a last resort and would require concrete justification.

"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.

However, Cleland did grant Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola an three extra weeks to file a catch-all pretrial motion that had been due Thursday. He also ordered prosecutors to disclose addresses and phone numbers of witnesses within seven days. He then adjusted other pretrial timetables.

"We will move forward with Jerry's defense and we look forward to receiving additional discovery materials from the commonwealth," Amendola said in response.

Sandusky, 68, denies allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct involving 10 boys over 15 years. He remains confined to his home while awaiting trial.

The former longtime defensive coordinator at Penn State founded The Second Mile, a charity for children where prosecutors claim he found victims.

Amendola had argued he needed the additional time to interview witnesses, subpoena records and hire experts.

Cleland said both sides agreed to the May start in early January, and indicated he was not persuaded by Amendola's "unsupported references to unidentified witnesses who might testify about unspecified issues."

"There is no assurance at this point that any delay of the trial to mid-July will not, in turn, give rise to subsequent issues prompting a request for still more delay. Delay has a way of begetting delay," Cleland wrote.

Also awaiting trial are Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, both accused of lying to a grand jury investigating Sandusky and failing to properly report suspected child abuse. 

The arrests led the board to oust university president Graham Spanier and longtime football coach Joe Paterno, although neither was charged. Paterno died in January of lung cancer at age 85.

Complete coverage of the Penn State sex abuse scandal on Crimesider


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