Jerry Sandusky Asks Court For New Trial; Judge Orders Attorney General to Turn Over Leaked Information Defense Says Impacted His Trial
Convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky appeared in a Pennsylvania court on Thursday in an effort to get a new trial.
Sandusky, 71, seeks to overturn a 45-count conviction for child abuse under Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act, holding that his lawyers in the trial were “not effective” and his rights were violated at trial, Alexander Lindsay, Sandusky’s lawyer, tells PEOPLE.
Sandusky, a former assistant coach at the prominent Penn State University football program who also ran a charity for underprivileged children, was convicted of 45 of 48 charges of molesting 10 boys at Penn State and other locations over a 15-year period. He is serving 30 to 60 years in the state’s “Supermax” prison in Waynesburg.
Senior Judge John Cleland did not make a ruling in the case during the 30-minute hearing in Bellefonte, but he ordered state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to turn over emails related to alleged leaks from grand jury information that may have impacted Sandusky’s previous trial, court documents state and Lindsay confirms.
Sandusky’s lawyer, contended that the leaks allowed journalist Sara Ganim of the Harrisburg Patriot-News to write an article that kept the Sandusky investigation going by prompting more alleged victims to speak out, Reuters reports.
Kane must produce the emails in question by Nov. 4 or appear before Cleland in a closed-door hearing. The attorney general’s office tells PEOPLE that Kane and the office intends “to review the order and comply with it.”
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Prosecutor: ‘His Request Is Akin to a Mere Fishing Expedition’
Sandusky’s current effort for a new trial under the Post-Conviction Relief Act is narrower than a previous round of appeals that he lost. His lawyer, Alexander Lindsay, holds that Cleland should have delayed the original trial to let passions surrounding the high-profile case die down, according to Reuters.
“Mr. Sandusky’s due process right to a fair trial was not only infringed, it was crushed under a stampede of vitriol, rage, and prejudice that mandate a new trial in this case,” the lawyer wrote in court papers before the hearing, per Reuters.
Lindsay tells PEOPLE that he believes a new trial would end very differently than the original.
“We think the outcome would be very different if [Sandusky] had a new trial, that’s why we’re asking for a new trial,” he said. “We think he should be acquitted. We think he should be found not guilty. We think he’s an innocent man.”
The Attorney General’s office released a statement after the hearing, saying that Sandusky has failed to demonstrate that “exceptional circumstances” exist to warrant a new trial.
“It is our position that Mr. Sandusky’s arguments lack merit,” the statement reads. “His request is akin to a mere fishing expedition We look forward to a decision from the court.”
Also on Wednesday, a Centre County judge said the statute of limitations has not expired for a 43-year-old Massachusetts man who claims he was abused by Sandusky in 1988 to file charges against him, CBS News reports.