WILKES-BARRE, Pa.

Sandusky lawyer makes the case for a new trial

Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer faced skeptical questioning Tuesday from three judges on the Pennsylvania appeals court over his client’s request that they order a new trial in his child sexual abuse case. The arguments made on behalf of Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, include that his lawyers didn’t have time to prepare for trial, that a prosecutor made improper references to Sandusky not testifying and that the judge mishandled jury instructions. The Superior Court judges did not indicate when they would rule.

Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

WASHINGTON

IRS says budget cuts keep it from chasing tax cheats

Budget cuts are hurting the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to go after tax cheats, the agency’s inspector general said Tuesday.

Tax collections from enforcement actions dropped by 9 percent in the 2012 budget year, to a little more than $50 billion, said the report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. It was the second year in a row that enforcement collections dropped.

In 2011, enforcement revenue dropped by more than $2 billion. Last year, it dropped by $5 billion more. At the same time, the IRS is opening more delinquent taxpayer accounts than it is closing, the report said. The IRS has shed about 8,000 jobs since 2010, the report said. It comes as the IRS is taking on big new responsibilities implementing President Barack Obama’s new health care law.

TOMS RIVER, N.J.

Boardwalk fire started with wiring damaged by Sandy

The massive fire that destroyed part of a Jersey shore boardwalk and dozens of businesses began accidentally in wiring damaged in Superstorm Sandy, and should prompt coastal property owners to get their own equipment inspected for similar danger, officials said Tuesday.

The boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights started Thursday in aged wiring that had been compromised by salt water and sand during the Oct. 29 storm, federal and county investigators said at a news conference. The wind-whipped blaze destroyed more than 50 businesses in the two towns.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said the fire should be a cautionary tale.

“I’m sure on every boardwalk everywhere (at the Jersey shore), there may be compromised wiring,” he said. “We don’t want to start a panic mode. We just want to be reasonable.”

— From news service reports