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Jerry Sandusky's lawyers argue for new trial

Jerry Sandusky's lawyers argue for new trial

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) 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.

But prosecutors countered by showing most of the documents and records were not relevant to the trial. They also got lead defense attorney Joe Amendola to acknowledge that he did not find any he would have used when he reviewed them after the trial.

``Where's the harm?'' the judge asked Sandusky defense lawyer Norris Gelman. ``That's where I'm hung up on this one.''

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. He has maintained his innocence, but his arrest tarnished Penn State's vaunted football program and led to the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno, who died nearly a year ago from lung cancer.

Gelman noted that some of the victims waited more than a decade to disclose their abuse.

``This is a long, long time not to make some kind of report ... and it goes to their credibility,'' Gelman said.

Prosecutor Frank Fina told Cleland that the issue of ``failure to report'' by the victims was a major theme during the trial. It was brought up during both parties' opening statements and closing arguments and during cross-examination of the eight victims who testified against Sandusky, he said.

Amendola's performance at trial and his questioning of witnesses are evidence that a fair trial took place even though the case moved from arrest to verdict in about eight months, Fina said.

``He used everything he had to cross-examine these young men,'' Fina said.

Amendola, who testified Thursday, said the trial's timetable did not permit sufficient investigation into the accusers' backgrounds.

He also described a scramble to cope with a string of pretrial hearings while trying to adequately analyze the discovery materials. At one point, his copier even broke down.

``Did we look at the material? Yes, we glanced over it,'' he said under questioning by Gelman.

Amendola recounted how he and co-counsel Karl Rominger sought unsuccessfully to be taken off the case, evidence of their frustration over how quickly things were moving.

After the hearing, Gelman compared Sandusky's odds of a new trial to a three-point shot in basketball, while Fina downplayed the defense's chances of success.

``I think the people of Pennsylvania can be confident this conviction is going to stand,'' Fina told reporters.

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Real Marquee Matchup: Wizards face Jimmy Butler, Heat team that has set good example to follow

Real Marquee Matchup: Wizards face Jimmy Butler, Heat team that has set good example to follow

The 2019-20 season for the Wizards can be viewed as somewhat of a gap year, in that they hope their current organizational reset doesn't take long. It seems to be their goal to be back in the playoff mix next season with John Wall back and Bradley Beal operating through his prime.

Their best path towards doing that may look a lot like the team they face on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat (7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington). After missing the playoffs last season with a 39-43 record, the Heat are now 30-13 and second in the Eastern Conference.

The jump they have made is unusual, so don't focus too much on the standings. Instead look at how they have improved and how parallels could be drawn to the Wizards.
The Heat are led by Jimmy Butler, an All-Star wing who is a level above everyone else on their roster. The same could be said about Bradley Beal.

They have a point guard in Goran Dragic, who is still effective despite not being the 20-point scoring All-Star he used to be, now that he's lost a step. The way he plays could be a reasonable expectation for Wall as he works his way back to All-Star form coming off an Achilles injury.

Miami has assembled a deep and multidimensional roster around them. They have an ascending young frontcourt player in Bam Adebayo. Rui Hachimura could follow a similar trajectory, albeit as a different style of player.

Miami also has an array of shooters. Duncan Robinson was undrafted, then signed to a two-way contract. Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn are rookies. The Wizards have their own group of emerging perimeter threats in Davis Bertans, Garrison Mathews and Jordan McRae.

The way the Heat win is with an efficient offense that includes deadly-accurate outside shooting and a slightly above average defense. They rank seventh in offensive rating (111.7) and 13th in defensive rating (108.1). And they are second in the NBA in three-point percentage (37.6) and eighth in threes made (12.7/g).

The Wizards are, of course, nowhere near even average on defense. Their defensive rating is 30th in the NBA and they possess none of the traits that make the Heat the defensive team they are. Miami, for instance, is first in opponent three-point percentage (32.7) and also first in defensive rebounding (32.3).

The Wizards, though, do already check off some boxes on offense. They are 11th in offensive rating (110.7) and eighth in three-point percentage (36.5). 

The Wizards have a long way to go to reach Miami's level, but the Heat's approach in a macro sense could be worth following and especially once Wall returns. Though Butler is their clear-cut best player, he only attempts 13.4 shots per game, second-most on the team. Dragic, despite being a former All-Star, takes only 12.1 per game.

The Wizards have long done things differently. Back in 2016-17, when they had their best season in many years, Wall averaged 18.4 shots and Beal took 17.2 per game.

Despite taking fewer shots, Butler is still able to put up numbers. He is averaging 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Combined with his defense, that is plenty to compete for the All-Star team and maybe even All-NBA honors. Meanwhile, he gets credit for being the face of a winning team.

The Heat have a roster that is a bit top-heavy that has been filled out nicely with unheralded moves and young players. That is how the Wizards' roster might be described a year from now. In order to make it work and win some games, they might want to pay attention to how Miami is doing it.

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'MLB The Show 20' features the 'Soto Shuffle' and iconic moments from Nationals' World Series season

'MLB The Show 20' features the 'Soto Shuffle' and iconic moments from Nationals' World Series season

One of the first things some Nationals fans noticed about PlayStation's trailer for the "MLB The Show 20," which was released Wednesday, was the inclusion of the "Soto Shuffle" after Juan Soto takes a ball.

Back in November one (possibly psychic?) Nationals fan tweeted his hope that the newest edition of the game would include Soto's iconic move at the plate, which the outfielder uses to psych-out opponents.

In Game 1 of the NLCS, Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas wasn't too happy with the "Soto Shuffle," but Soto never stopped the move.  

According to the preview, the new video game also includes a Trea Turner dugout dance party at Nationals Park and former National Anthony Rendon in his new Los Angeles Angels garb.

No word yet as to whether Gerardo Parra's "Baby Shark" or Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick's "Clutch and Drive" made the cut. 

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