Prosecution closes in Sandusky case; jury begins deliberations

June 21, 2012 6:54 am
  • Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the jury began deliberating his case. At right is Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau.
    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the jury began deliberating his case. At right is Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau.
  • Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse with his wife, Dorothy (left) for the closing arguments in his trial today.
    Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse with his wife, Dorothy (left) for the closing arguments in his trial today.
  • Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday after the defense rested on the seventh day of testimony.
    Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse on Wednesday after the defense rested on the seventh day of testimony.
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"In this case, because of this man's reputation and what was at stake, they went after him," Mr. Amendola said.

In a 72-minute closing argument, the defense lawyer castigated police for repeatedly questioning would-be accusers until they embellished their stories, and lawyers who he said were after a big payday from civil lawsuits that would be enhanced if Mr. Sandusky is found guilty.

"On November 5 of last year, Mr. Sandusky's world came to an end. Mrs. Sandusky's world came to an end. Mr. Sandusky's children's world came to an end," he said of the day that charges were announced by the state attorney general's office.

He said there was virtually no physical or corroborating evidence to support the eight accusers' claims.

He ridiculed the notion that the former Penn State assistant football coach would have had the time to play basketball and racquetball three times a week, as one accuser said, "and then go fool around" at a time of year when coaches were working 17-hour days to prepare for the upcoming season.

He said accusers' allegations that they were repeatedly assaulted in the basement of Sandusky's home without the defendant's wife finding out about it were implausible. "What I'm suggesting is it doesn't add up," Mr. Amendola said.

He also told the jury that despite Mr. Sandusky's decades of being with and working with children, none of the allegations predates the mid-1990s. "Out of the blue, after all these years when he's in his fifties, Jerry Sandusky decides to become a pedophile? Does that make any sense?"

He said the initial allegations by the child identified as Victim 1, that Mr. Sandusky fondled him above his clothing, mushroomed as investigators goaded him into making more serious allegations. Publicity about the subsequent investigation brought more accusers and lawyers eager to represent them, he said.

At one point near the conclusion of his argument, Mr. Amendola said "if he did this he should rot in jail for the rest of his life." A few moments later, he thanked the jury and urged it to find Mr. Sandusky not guilty on all 48 counts.

Earlier this morning, McKean County Senior Common Pleas Judge John M. Cleland told jurors that they must decide whether the defendant acted with an "intent to satisfy his own sexual desire" when he was with the 10 children he is accused of molesting.

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com.
First Published 2012-06-26 15:35:57
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