By Ben Present
Of the Legal Staff
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied an 11th-hour attempt from Jerry Sandusky’s defense to delay the trial of the former Penn State assistant coach, which is slated to begin next week.
Sandusky, facing 52 sex-related charges, had been granted a small continuance, slating his trial for a June 5 start, but Senior Judge John M. Cleland has since denied additional requests.
Friday, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court followed suit, denying the embattled coach’s emergency petition to certify the case for review without comment and, in turn, denying as moot his emergency motion to stay the case.
Attorneys and others involved in the impending trial have been barred from commenting on the case by a gag order issued by the court in April.
Unless the coach’s legal team attempts to exhaust review from the state Supreme Court, or he takes a plea deal, the decision appears to greenlight the coach’s trial. Lawyers are expected to open to the jury, at the earliest, on June 11.
Speculation that Sandusky might be engaged in plea negotiations quickly ended Wednesday after an in camera meeting between Sandusky’s defense, prosecutors and the judge turned out to be over another defense effort to delay the trial.
Cleland denied that request in a four-page order Wednesday, leading to the coach’s most recent attempt to delay his trial via an appellate court.
It was unclear what Sandusky told the Superior Court in support of his petition for review, as the panel’s order granted his request to do so under seal.
In Sandusky’s most recent motion for continuance filed with the trial court, he cited the following: the unavailability of a jury consultant, an unprepared defense expert, a paralegal who is having surgery, difficulty reviewing discovery material provided by attorneys for the state, and the inability to call two former Penn State administrators to the witness stand because they have taken their Fifth Amendment rights.