Sandusky notifies trial court he plans to appeal
HARRISBURG – Jerry Sandusky’s attorneys have notified his trial judge that he wants a state appeals court to overturn his convictions for molesting boys.
Attorneys for the former Penn State assistant football coach filed a pair of appeal notices Thursday that indicate Sandusky wants the state Superior Court to take up his convictions on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
The notices were filed in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, the site of his three-week trial last summer.
Also Thursday, Penn State outlined in a new court filing why it thinks a defamation and whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former football assistant coach who reported Sandusky in 2001 lacks merit and should be dismissed.
The university filed a 33-page document that fleshed out its response to Mike McQueary’s civil suit over how he was treated after reporting that he saw the former defensive coordinator showering with a boy.
In the Sandusky criminal case, the new defense filing comes a month after the trial judge rejected their post-sentencing motions, including an argument that his attorneys lacked sufficient time to prepare for trial.
Judge John Cleland also rejected motions regarding jury instructions, hearsay testimony and a comment by the prosecution during closing arguments that referred to the fact that Sandusky, who did not testify at trial, gave media interviews after he was arrested in November 2011.
In the appeals notices, Sandusky’s defense attorneys did not elaborate on the issues he plans to raise on appeal. But lead appellate counsel Norris Gelman said he would make many of the same arguments that Cleland rejected in January.
“The publicity has been bad,” Gelman said Thursday. “All we can do is hope that it will not affect or infect the judges of the Superior Court.”
He said the likely next step will be for Cleland to order Sandusky’s lawyers to file a document that lists their intended claims. After that, Cleland would write an opinion about the case and certify the trial record to Superior Court. Gelman would then get two or three months to file a brief to the appeals court.
The attorney general’s office had no immediate comment on the notices.
In the McQueary lawsuit, Penn State’s new filing argued that statements in late 2011 by Spanier in support of former administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz did not suggest McQueary was lying. McQueary is suing for millions of dollars, alleging Spanier made him a scapegoat.
“This daunting analytical leap is illogical and insufficient as a matter of law,” wrote Penn State attorney Nancy Conrad. She said “no fair, cogent reading of the statements suggests that Spanier was making statements by innuendo about (McQueary) that he knew were false or with reckless disregard for their falsity.”
Conrad declined an interview request, and a message left for McQueary’s lawyer Elliot Strokoff was not immediately returned.
Sandusky, 69, a Washington native, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for the sexual abuse of 10 boys, including violent attacks inside Penn State athletics facilities. He maintains his innocence.
Jessop Community Federal Credit Union