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Sandusky lawyers granted hearing into claims they lacked time to prepare for child abuse trial

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 8:04 p.m.

BELLEFONTE — The judge who presided over former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse case said on Tuesday that defense lawyers can have an evidentiary hearing to explore their claim that they lacked sufficient time to prepare for trial.

Judge John Cleland's one-sentence order set the proceeding for the Centre County Courthouse on Jan. 10, the location and time of a scheduled argument on Sandusky's post-sentencing motions.

When Sandusky's lawyers requested the hearing last week, they said it would probably take less than two hours.

At issue is Cleland's refusal to delay the trial “based on the defendant's inability to integrate the vast amount of material turned over by the prosecution to the defense when trial was imminent.” Defense lawyers argued that violated Sandusky's rights by preventing them from being able to use those materials in his defense.

Sandusky's attorneys repeatedly raised the issue before and during trial, saying they were swamped by the material produced by the Attorney General's Office during a three-year investigation.

Cleland, brought in by the state Supreme Court from another county after all of the local judges recused themselves, moved the case from arrest to trial in seven months.

In June, jurors convicted Sandusky of 45 counts involving 10 victims, including violent sexual attacks inside Penn State athletics facilities.

Cleland sentenced Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in state prison. Sandusky, who spent decades at the university under coach Joe Paterno, maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

A call seeking comment from prosecutors was not immediately returned.

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