Everyone knew from the start that Joe Amendola had a difficult task ahead of him, and now seven months later, all he can do is wait.
In his closing statement Thursday morning, Amendola began by asking, “How could eight individuals [and other witnesses]come into court and say these awful things had happened if they didn’t happen?”
“On November 4th, Mr. Sandusky’s life came to an end. Mrs. Sandusky’s life came to an end. Their children’s lives came to an end. Everything they ever believed in was challenged. Challenged by young men who came forward. How do you fight this?” Amendola continued.
“Other than for a couple occasions, there’s absolutely no direct evidence other than what came from the mouths of those individuals you saw here in court,” Amendola said, citing the biggest criticism of the prosecution. “There is not one piece of physical evidence — not once piece. In two of the cases, we don’t even have victims identified.”
“We found out in this trial that a lot of these kids knew each other,” Amendola said. He showed a paper on the screen which showed the significant time overlap of the alleged abuses. Amendola said, “If you believe their testimony, Mr. Sandusky was a very busy man.”
“In the hundreds of thousands of people he worked with, not one — not one counselor, not one teacher, not one child — said that Sandusky did anything wrong [until 2008],” Amendola said.
“The Grand Jury set out to find more victims,” Amendola said. “The problem was, after a year or a year an a half, they only had two victims.” He went on to say that additional victims came forward after the story became public, and that it’s important to look at the timeline in this case.
“Dottie Sandusky — who adopted six kids — was always in this house. Could all of this sex be going on? Use your common sense,” Amendola said to the jury. “If Mr. Sandusky had anal sex with that child he would have medical problems. It just doesn’t add up.”
“You heard [former Penn State assistant coach]Dick Anderson say that a Penn State football coach put in 17 hour days during the season, 12 hour days in the offseason. How in the world could Mr. Sandusky find the time to go play racquetball or basketball two or three times a week with [Victim 4]?” Amendola asked.
“All of these alleged charges only go back to the mid-1990s. All of a sudden, when Mr. Sandusky is in his mid-50’s, he decides to become a pedophile. Does that make any sense to you?” Amendola asked. He said that the case was so well known — even calling it an “international story” — that he was surprised more accusers hadn’t come forward from earlier decades.
Amendola also brought up his often-used tactic of trying to discredit the accusers by claiming they’re out for financial compensation in civil cases. “You have to believe that these lawyers sitting in this courtroom, without being paid a penny, are doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” Amendola said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Initially these kids said nothing — or that very little happened. Police came coming back and saying ‘there is more to this,'” Amendola said, referring to the transcript of a police interview where investigators pressed accusers to divulge more information about Sandusky. “It doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Folks, do we have to get hit with a brick in the head to figure this out?” Amendola asked, regarding the victims’ desire for for financial compensation. “They could’ve arrested him after they found [Victim 1] in 2008. Why did they wait so long if Jerry’s a monster?”
Amendola tried to explain the interview with Bob Costas by saying that Sandusky was “nervous.” Amendola said that “everyone knows Bob Costas is a tough interview,” and that the national exposure of the interview was enough to make Sandusky uneasy. He went on to read the transcript of the interview — obviously not in the same timid tone that Sandusky delivered it in seven months ago.
“Showering with a young boy is not a crime — it’s only a crime if there is sexual intent,”Amendola said. “Am I saying Mike McQueary is a liar? No. I’m saying he’s assuming. Five respected people never called the police.”
Amendola again went back to the victim overlap. “You have to believe that Mr. Sandusky was doing this at the time and rotating the kids out of the house,” Amendola said.
Amendola went back to a familiar line, “I’ll be the first one to tell you this. If he did this, he should rot in jail for the rest of his life. His life is destroyed. Not only his life, but we have a fired university president. We have a dead coach. We have an institution in shambles.”
“Regardless of the outcome, it’s awful. Don’t be fooled. Don’t get tied up in the pictures,” Amendola said. “All he wanted to do was help kids. From the time he was a kid, he helped thousands of kids.”
Amendola concluded by reading an excerpt for Mother Teresa’s paradoxical commandments, which Amendola says Sandusky often read to children:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
“Everything he’s ever loved, everything he’s ever built, and everything he’s ever stood for…”