BELLEFONTE, Pa. — The judge in Jerry Sandusky's child-sex abuse case said Wednesday he may throw out parts of some defense subpoenas and that he wanted to swiftly resolve disagreements about defense access to background information on the accusers.
Judge John Cleland said he planned to rule quickly on motions by several school districts and government agencies to quash subpoenas served by Sandusky's attorney, Joseph Amendola.
Cleland opened the hearing in Bellefonte by noting the "trial is approaching" for the former Penn State assistant football coach, a nod to the scheduled June 5 start of the trial.
Earlier Wednesday, Amendola filed a motion seeking to delay the start of the trial, saying he needed more time to prepare Sandusky's defense and to go over material handed over to his team by state prosecutors. It was not apparent if Cleland would rule on that motion during the hearing.
Amendola has made dozens of requests for records or other material, much of it background information on the accusers, including school transcripts, medical records going back to birth, Internet search histories, Facebook account details, employment-related documents and cellphone and Twitter records.
Sandusky, 68, is confined to his State College home to await the start of his trial on 52 criminal counts involving 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky has denied the allegations.
Cleland said Wednesday that several of the defense subpoenas used an incorrect standard and that he planned to quash only the "unsupportable parts" of the subpoenas.
Amendola told the judge the defense is looking for "any evidence that these students suffered from behavioral issues, mental health issues, prior to their contact with The Second Mile or the defendant." Sandusky founded The Second Mile as a charity for at-risk youth and met many of his alleged victims there.
Amendola said that "a number" of the accusers have criminal records and that he suspects prosecutors will try to argue the accusers' legal problems stem from the abuse they endured as children.
Meanwhile, Sandusky's lawyers filed another motion asking that the complete transcripts of the grand jury that investigated Sandusky be released to him immediately.
Amendola has made 50 requests for records or other material from the attorney general's office and has not received a response concerning the most recent 14 requests.
In a separate motion, Amendola asked Cleland to direct prosecutors to provide paper copies of computer records he has been given, including phone records taken from the office of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
Amendola said in the delay request that the defense team needs more time to find and interview witnesses, and that pending criminal charges against two potential witnesses, Penn State administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, have made them unavailable as witnesses in June.
Lawyers for Curley, the school's athletic director now on leave, and Schultz, the retired vice president who supervised campus police, have indicated their clients will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify if called.
School districts and government agencies have asked Cleland to throw out some of the subpoenas. Challenges have been filed by three central Pennsylvania school districts, two county child welfare agencies, Juniata College and three state agencies.
It's not clear how many pretrial discovery conflicts still exist. Prosecutors on Monday filed a court document telling Cleland that much of the material sought by Sandusky has already been provided and that dozens of other requests are not subject to mandatory disclosure.
The charges against Sandusky concern his relationships with boys he met through The Second Mile between 1994 and 2008. Prosecutors allege Sandusky groomed the boys for sexual abuse, offering gifts and access to the team in addition to companionship.
At least some of the alleged abuse happened in the Penn State football team's facilities, prosecutors said. One of the alleged attacks was witnessed by former receivers coach Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant.
The ensuing scandal led to the firing of Paterno and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier.
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