HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The judge who has presided over Jerry Sandusky's criminal case for five years is removing himself from the former Penn State assistant coach's appeal.

Judge John Cleland issued an sternly worded order Friday taking himself off the case because Sandusky's lawyers have raised objections to Cleland's role in a December 2011 meeting in a State College hotel the night before Sandusky waived the preliminary hearing.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He's appealing under the Post-Conviction Relief Act, which is limited to claims of constitutional violations, newly discovered evidence or ineffective counsel.

Sandusky says waiving the hearing was a critical mistake.

Sandusky appeals lawyer Al Lindsay and a spokesman for state prosecutors both declined to comment.

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