HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky asked a judge Thursday to throw out the child sex abuse charges against him, arguing some counts are not specific enough, evidence is lacking in others and the statute of limitations may have run out regarding eight of the 10 alleged victims.
The catch-all pretrial motion also sought to delay the May 14 start of his trial, saying more time was needed to prepare a defense.
“We raised a number of issues that we thought were pertinent for various reasons,” said his lawyer, Joe Amendola. “But the judge will have to decide that. We’ll see what happens.”
The omnibus pretrial motion, as it is called, is standard in Pennsylvania criminal cases.
Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said the document was under review, and prosecutors planned to respond in writing within a week. An April 5 court proceeding in Bellefonte has been scheduled to hash out any remaining disputes.
Sandusky, 68, is confined to his home in State College while awaiting trial, and has denied the allegations against him. He is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, including sexual assaults.
The case against Sandusky led to the firing of distinguished football coach Joe Paterno, who administrators said did not do enough once he learned about part of the allegations, and spawned criminal charges against two school officials.
Amendola asked Judge John Cleland to compel prosecutors to disclose the nature, times and locations of “any criminal offenses or acts of misconduct,” beyond those for which he’s been charged, if they plan to introduce them at trial.
Amendola wants to be able to question prospective jurors individually and said jurors should be sequestered at trial because the case has received extensive publicity. He said it could take up to two weeks to pick a jury.
The filing argues that a June search of Sandusky’s home in State College was illegal and seeks to prevent prosecutors from using the material at trial. That search yielded computers, records, CDs, DVDs, photos and other items.
A similar suppression motion was filed regarding conversations between Sandusky and two alleged victims, identified as Victim 1 and Victim 9 in court records. Amendola said prosecutors have said they plan to use at trial a seven-minute conversation with Victim 1 in June 2009, as well as a conversation with Victim 9 about four days after Sandusky was arrested in early November.
The motion said Sandusky was not read his Miranda rights when he was questioned once or twice by a Penn State police detective in 1998, so the record of those interviews should not be allowed as evidence. The 1998 investigation, begun after a mother complained to authorities that her son showered with Sandusky, did not result in any charges being filed at the time.
Amendola said the charges related to the young man called Victim 2 should be thrown out because prosecutors have said his identity is not known, and are basing their case on the eyewitness testimony of Mike McQueary, who said he witnessed the boy being attacked by Sandusky in a football team shower in 2002.
McQueary’s testimony at the December preliminary hearing, Amendola wrote, “did not establish sufficient evidence to support these charges.”
The defense said the trial should be delayed because new potential witnesses have surfaced from the materials that prosecutors have already turned over, and that the discovery process continues.
Amendola said Sandusky may have an alibi defense, but so far has not been provided enough specifics about the allegations to know for sure. He asked Cleland to force disclosure of any juvenile adjudication records of all potential witnesses.