HARRISBURG (AP) – A judge on Thursday ordered hearings to let former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky develop more information as he tries to overturn his child molestation conviction.
Judge John Cleland said the three days of proceedings in August will address, in part, whether defense lawyers should have called Sandusky to testify and whether prosecutors improperly leaked information about the grand jury investigation.
The hearing also will delve into whether prosecutor Joe McGettigan lied during closing arguments at Sandusky’s 2012 trial when he said he did not know the identity of a figure referred to as Victim 2.
“The question is what Mr. McGettigan believed to be true when he made the statement to the jury,” Cleland said.
Sandusky, 72, is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for 45 counts of child sexual abuse covering 10 victims.
Eight young men testified they had suffered abuse at Sandusky’s hands. The two others were Victim 2, who assistant coach Mike McQueary testified he saw being abused by Sandusky in team shower in 2001, and a boy who was reportedly seen by a custodian with Sandusky in the locker room.
Also at issue on appeal are decisions by Sandusky’s lawyers to let him do an television interview with NBC’s Bob Costas soon after his arrest, to waive his preliminary hearing and to not use grand jury testimony by three Penn State administrators.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said prosecutors feel strongly that Sandusky’s appeal is meritless and they plan to challenge the claims vigorously. A message seeking comment from Sandusky’s appellate lawyer, Al Lindsay, was not immediately returned.
Cumberland County prosecutor Dave Freed, speaking for the state district attorneys’ association, said complicated cases sometimes generate multi-day post-conviction appeals hearings.
“This order seems to me very much in keeping with the way Judge Cleland conducts business, which is he lays out very clearly what he expects, how he expects the hearing to go, allows sufficient time for it and allows the parties to prepare so he can use court time efficiently,” Freed said.
Sandusky previously lost direct appeals to the state’s Supreme and Superior courts. He is now pursuing claims under the state’s Post-Conviction Relief Act, which is confined to newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations and ineffective lawyering.