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Sandusky defense seeks dismissal of charges

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Bellefonte, PA (World Wide Gamble) - The lawyer for Jerry Sandusky says charges in the child sex-abuse case against the former Penn State assistant football coach should be dismissed.

Joseph Amendola argued in an omnibus pre-trial motion submitted Thursday that some of the charges are "so general and non-specific" that a defense cannot be prepared for them, and the statute of limitations may have run out on charges for eight of the 12 alleged victims.

In addition, Amendola said the charges concerning one alleged victim who has remained unidentified cannot be sustained based solely on the testimony of former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who has said he witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in the Penn State showers.

Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator, is charged with 52 counts of felony and misdemeanor sexual offenses against children. He has denied the charges.

Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin May 14, but the defense is again seeking a continuance to interview witnesses and prepare experts.

However, Judge John M. Cleland already denied a request Feb. 29 to extend the start of the trial two months, saying: "Delay has a way of begetting delay."

On the same day, Cleland granted the defense's request for more time to file the pre-trial motion it submitted on Thursday's deadline.

In it, Amendola argues that the Commonwealth failed to provide the dates of alleged abuse "with reasonable certainty" and if it cannot accurately provide more specific information "the notions of fundamental fairness embedded in our legal process" will be violated and Sandusky's right to due process will also be violated if he is forced to go to trial.

Amendola requested a writ of habeas corpus for the prosecution "to show cause why some of the charges should not be dismissed."

He argued that the statute of limitations ran out on Victims 2-8 prior to charges being filed and that the prosecution has failed to disclose items and information requested by the defense.

Also in the motion, the defense requested:

- That the jury be sequestered beginning with selection based on the breadth of media coverage the case has received. (The defense has made this argument before for other requests.)

- That evidence obtained through a search warrant on Sandusky's home -- including computers, records, CDs, DVDs, photos and other documents -- be suppressed because officers didn't have probable cause to execute the search.

Other motions filed included:

- A notice of a potential alibi defense, compelling the prosecution to be more specific about dates so the defense can locate witnesses who might be able to provide an alibi for Sandusky for certain dates.

- A motion compelling the Commonwealth to disclose any criminal records of its potential witnesses.

- A motion to suppress statements Sandusky made to an investigator in 1998 concerning one of the alleged victims.

March 22, 2012, at 04:58 PM ET
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