The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 10, 2013

State in brief: Sandusky’s lawyers argue for new trial

Associated Press

BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky emerged from prison to attend a hearing 200 miles away at which his lawyers argued Thursday he deserves a new trial on child molestation charges because they didn’t have enough time to prepare for the first one.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach played no active role in the proceedings, but briefly greeted his wife and supporters beforehand.

At the hearing in Centre County court in Bellefonte, Sandusky’s lawyers cited flaws in the trial, including that they were swamped by about 12,000 pages of documents and other materials, that Judge John Cleland should have instructed jurors about the years it took for victims to report he had abused them and that hearsay evidence was improperly allowed.

Cleland did not indicate when he might rule. If Sandusky does not get a new trial – he is also asking to have charges thrown out entirely – he can then appeal to Superior Court, and has indicated he will.

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse over a period of several years and is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence at a state prison.

Corbett gets another day on lottery bid

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has another day to consider a bid by the British national lottery operator to take over management the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery from state employees.

Thursday’s 24-hour extension came after Camelot Global Services agreed to a prior

10-day extension. The original deadline to decide on Camelot’s bid had been Dec. 31.

Corbett administration officials remain supportive of Camelot’s bid and say talks on a longer extension will continue Friday.

Camelot’s pledging $34 billion in lottery profits over

20 years, with extensions of up to 10 years possible if certain performance benchmarks are met. Unionized state lottery employees have offered a counterproposal to keep the management in-house and are suing to block any agreement with Camelot.

Health Department: Flu ’widespread’

ALLENTOWN – Patients suffering from chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat – in other words, the flu – are swelling emergency rooms throughout Pennsylvania as state health officials report a large outbreak of the seasonal virus that has claimed 22 lives so far.

It’s the worst start to a flu season in nearly 20 years, by one hospital’s reckoning, and health officials predict the number of cases will continue to rise because flu season typically doesn’t peak until late January or early February.

The health department has designated influenza as “widespread” throughout the commonwealth, with more than 11,000 laboratory-confirmed cases since flu season began in mid-December. The past week saw a dramatic intensification, with nearly 4,300 new cases and 18 deaths.

Court rejects Melvin request to halt case

PITTSBURGH – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a day-old request from suspended fellow Justice Joan Orie Melvin to halt her prosecution on campaign corruption charges, moving the case a step closer to trial.

The court issued a one-page order denying Melvin’s petition without comment. Justice Max Baer abstained from the decision.

Melvin, 56, was charged in May with using her former state-paid Superior Court staffers to illegally campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2003, an election she lost, and again in 2009, when she was elected to the state’s highest court.

Her request, filed Wednesday, was a direct appeal to the high court after Allegheny County Judge Lester Nauhaus rejected a similar request. Lawyers in the case are scheduled to begin picking a jury for Melvin’s trial Jan. 23.

Melvin is to be tried along with her sister Janine Orie, who managed Melvin’s Superior Court staff and is also accused of conspiring to use the state-paid staff of a third sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, to campaign for Melvin.

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