49ers

Two rulings that went in favor of Jerry Sandusky

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Two rulings that went in favor of Jerry Sandusky

From Comcast SportsNet
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A judge rejected requests by prosecutors that jurors be brought in from outside the State College area to hear the child sex-abuse case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Judge John Cleland on Monday also denied prosecutors' requests that Sandusky remain indoors while on home confinement before his trial and ruled that Sandusky can have supervised contact with most of his grandchildren, saying there was no evidence that the children's parents wouldn't be able to keep them safe. Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for what prosecutors say was the sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has denied the allegations. Cleland has tentatively scheduled the trial to start in mid-May. He said jury selection will be a challenge, given the pretrial publicity and the special role that Penn State plays in the Centre County community. "If, after a reasonable attempt it is apparent that a jury cannot be selected within a reasonable time, then I will reconsider this ruling," Cleland wrote. A spokesman for the attorney general's office said the judge's orders were being reviewed. Sandusky's lawyer issued a statement saying Sandusky, his wife and their family were "relieved by and pleased with" the visitation ruling, which pertains to all but three of his 11 grandchildren, ages 2 to 14. Those three children are involved in a custody case, and Cleland deferred decisions about any visits from them to the judge handling that matter. Prosecutors made the bail modification request, asking that Sandusky remain indoors, after hearing concerns by neighbors about the safety of children, particularly at an elementary school behind Sandusky's house. "The commonwealth failed to present any evidence whatsoever that the defendant presents a clearly defined threat to any student at the adjoining elementary school simply by being on his deck," Cleland wrote. "No evidence was presented that at any time the defendant made any effort to contact any of the children by signaling or calling to them, or that he made any gestures directed toward them, or that he acted in any inappropriate way whatsoever." Cleland encouraged state prosecutors to work with the judge who supervised a grand jury that investigated Sandusky to figure out how to release grand jury transcripts to Sandusky's lawyers "on a schedule which balances the appropriate interests of maintaining the secrecy of the grand jury while still assuring the trial can proceed without unnecessary disruption." Cleland also ordered prosecutors to tell defense lawyers where and when the purported crimes occurred and how old the children were at the time. He addressed disputes between the sides over material that should be turned over to the defense by directing prosecutors to put their objections in writing by Feb. 20. Sandusky's lawyers will be allowed to reply by Feb. 27. Sandusky lost a request to force prosecutors to disclose the names, addresses and birth dates of witnesses. "While we are happy with the outcome of Friday's hearings, we realize, nevertheless, a number of difficult legal battles lie ahead of us," his lawyer, Joe Amendola, said in a statement. "We will continue to work very hard in preparing Jerry's defense with the ultimate goal of obtaining Jerry's acquittal." The 68-year-old Sandusky was also granted the right to see adult visitors. Under the court's latest order, he will list up to 12 adults he would like to be able to see, subject to approval by the county officials overseeing his home confinement. His visits will be limited to a total of two hours, three times a week. Also Monday, a Penn State administrator asked a judge to throw out charges that he lied to the grand jury investigating Sandusky and that he failed to properly report suspected child abuse. Tim Curley filed motions in Dauphin County Court that argued the death of football coach Joe Paterno last month left prosecutors without a required second witness to support the perjury charge. He said allegations that he didn't report suspected abuse in 2002 were filed under a revision of the law that was passed five years later and that the statute of limitations has expired. The attorney general's office said it, too, was under review. The 57-year-old Curley is on leave as athletic director as he awaits trial. Former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz, who faces the same charges as Curley, has not filed similar motions. Both have denied the allegations.

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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AP

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers

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USATSI

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers

NEW YORK — Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was granted another legal reprieve Tuesday night in the running back's fight to avoid a six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

A New York federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the league's suspension, clearing Elliott to play Sunday at San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty's ruling came five days after a federal appeals court overturned a Texas court's injunction that had kept Elliott on the field.

Crotty granted the request for the restraining order pending a hearing before the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Failla, who is on vacation.

The NFL was ordered to appear before Failla on or before Oct. 30 to argue why the suspension should not be blocked by a preliminary injunction — the next step in the legal process — until the court can rule on challenges the players' union brought against the suspension.

"We are confident our arguments will prevail in court when they are taken up again later this month," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, was barred from the team's facility Tuesday as players returned from their off week. The NFL placed him on the suspended list Friday, a day after the league's favorable ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.

Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence, but the NFL did its own investigation. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.

The suspension's announcement in August led to weeks of court filings, with NFLPA lawyers contending that league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.

In an opinion accompanying the ruling, Crotty agreed with the Texas judge who had backed the claims of Elliott's attorneys. Crotty wrote that Henderson's denial of testimony from Goodell and Thompson was significant because of credibility issues related to Thompson.

"In effect, (Elliott) was deprived of opportunities to explore pertinent and material evidence, which raises sufficiently serious questions," Crotty wrote.

Attorney Daniel Nash, arguing for the NFL, accused Elliott's legal team of seeking relief from courts in Texas to evade courts in New York and the effect of the April 2016 ruling that reinstated a four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Nash warned Crotty that allowing the union to continue to delay the suspension would invite "every player who's suspended" to go to court for relief.

"They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None," Nash said.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the players' union, said the harm to a player's short career was serious when a suspension is served.

"He can never get that back," Kessler said, arguing that the irreparable harm — among issues of law considered before a temporary restraining order is granted — faced by a player is much greater than harm claimed by the league when a suspension is delayed. In his opinion, Crotty agreed.

Nash suggested during the hearing that the union was overstating its claims of irreparable harm.

"In their view, an NFL player missing six games is the end of the world," he said.

Brady managed to delay his suspension for a year through the union's court challenges. He served it to start last season, when the Patriots went 3-1 without him and later won the Super Bowl.

Elliott's case shifted to New York after the appeals court ordered the Texas court to dismiss Elliott's lawsuit, which Judge Amos Mazzant did earlier Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans court ruled 2-1 last week that Elliott's attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because Henderson had yet to decide on the running back's NFL appeal.

Elliott's legal team indicated it intended to pursue rehearing before a larger panel of the appeals court while also filing for the restraining order in the Southern District of New York.

The NFL filed in the New York court after Elliott's NFL appeal was denied because the league considers it the proper venue as the home of its headquarters and the site of the hearings before Henderson. It's also where the NFL won the Brady case in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.