Jerry Sandusky to take stand? Attorney says ‘stay tuned’
By MARK SCOLFORO and GENARO C. ARMAS Associated Press June 19, 2012 8:34AM
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, June 18, 2012. The defense is to begin presenting it's case in Sandusky's trial on 52 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years. Monday, June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Updated: June 19, 2012 8:34AM
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky’s defense attorney compared the former Penn State assistant coach’s high-profile child sex-abuse trial to a soap opera on Tuesday, telling reporters to “stay tuned” to find out if Sandusky would take the stand in his own defense.
Asked what soap opera he’d compare the trial to, defense attorney Joe Amendola initially said “General Hospital,” then “All My Children.”
Sandusky is charged with 51 criminal counts related to 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span. He’s accused of engaging in illegal sexual contact ranging from fondling to forced oral and anal sex.
Prosecutors rested their case Monday after presenting 21 witnesses, including eight who said they had been assaulted by Sandusky. The identities of two other alleged victims are unknown to investigators.
After Monday’s session wrapped up, Sandusky looked an Associated Press reporter in the eye and said nothing when asked if he planned to testify. Judge John Cleland said defense witnesses should be finished by mid-day Wednesday, and closing statements were expected Thursday morning.
The defense portion of the case included a former Penn State coach who said he knew Sandusky brought boys into showers but never saw him do anything wrong.
The six witnesses spoke to Sandusky’s reputation but did little to directly counter the accusers’ testimony.
Remaining possible defense witnesses include Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, and an expert who could discuss whether Sandusky has “histrionic personality disorder,” which experts have called a personality disorder characterized by inappropriate sexual behavior and erratic emotions.
The list of potential witnesses also includes a physician who spoke with key prosecution witness Mike McQueary the night he said he saw Sandusky attack a child in a football team shower in 2001, and members of former football coach Joe Paterno’s family, although it was unclear how they might fit into the defense case or whether they will be called.
Sandusky’s arrest led the university trustees to fire Paterno as coach in November, saying his response to the 2001 report from McQueary showed a lack of leadership. Paterno died of cancer in January.
Dick Anderson, a longtime Penn State assistant and Sandusky friend who retired in January, testified that he and other members of the football staff were present when Sandusky brought young boys into the team’s showers.
He said he never witnessed anything inappropriate.
“If Jerry would bring someone in with The Second Mile, they had been working out, for whatever reason they came in, it was not uncommon ... with the other coaches in the shower as well,” Anderson said, referring to the charity for at-risk children Sandusky founded in 1977.
Anderson, who coached at Penn State from 1970 to 1983 and again from 1990 through the 2011 season, said adults and children often shower together at gyms. He noted, for example, that it’s not unusual for him to be in the showers with boys at the YMCA.
Anderson also spoke in detail about the long hours of coaching and the recruiting trips required for the job, which could lay the groundwork for a defense argument that accuser testimony about regular contact with Sandusky may be inaccurate or exaggerated.
Anderson said he did not know Sandusky had been barred by university administrators from taking children onto campus after the 2001 incident was reported by McQueary, although that was disclosed in court documents and has been widely and repeatedly reported since Sandusky’s arrest.
When lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan asked him if that fact would surprise him, Anderson said yes.
The defense’s case focused largely on Sandusky’s reputation. Anderson said he was “well thought of in every regard,” former Penn State assistant coach Booker Brooks called his reputation “exemplary, top-notch,” and local political consultant Brent Pasquinelli, who raised money for The Second Mile, called him “a local hero.”
Besides Anderson, Brooks and Pasquinelli, three other witnesses testified for the defense Monday: a woman who ran a golf-related charity to which one accuser was recommended by Sandusky, a young man who knew Sandusky through The Second Mile and vouched for his reputation, and a schoolteacher who said Sandusky seemed genuinely interested in helping one of the alleged victims in the case. None was on the stand for more than 10 minutes.
Tom Kline, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents one of the accusers, said he was served a defense subpoena on Monday, ordering him to produce a copy of the fee agreement he has made with Victim 5, along with copies of his interactions with reporters.