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Judge rejects Sandusky's bid for new sex abuse trial

Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his sentencing in his child sex abuse case in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania October
Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his sentencing in his child sex abuse case in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania October

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) - Former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky lost his bid on Wednesday for a new trial on child sex abuse charges.

Judge John Cleland rejected the request in an opinion posted on the Centre County Court's website. Sandusky's attorneys had argued they lacked enough time to prepare for the trial.

Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator, was convicted in June on 45 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He was sentenced to a prison term of 30 years to 60 years in a case that tarnished the reputation of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno and focused national attention on child sexual abuse.

Cleland, who had presided over Sandusky's high-profile trial in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania not far from State College, said Sandusky's attorneys Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger had failed to show that they had needed a continuance to be able to sift potential evidence and to prepare.

"There was, in other words, no prejudice to the defendant by denying defense counsel's motion for a continuance," he wrote.

Sandusky's attorneys also had argued that a new trial should be held because of such issues as erroneous instructions to the jury, lack of specificity in the charges and prosecutors' comments on Sandusky's failure to testify at trial.

Cleland rejected those points as well.

A grand jury in November charged the university's former president, Graham Spanier, with participating in a "conspiracy of silence" to cover up Sandusky's behavior.

Two other officials, Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz, also face new charges of child endangerment, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

They were charged in November 2011 with failure to report suspected abuse and perjury. Both have pleaded not guilty.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Gevirtz)

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