Wearing a red jumpsuit with the words “Centre County” emblazoned on the back in fading black letters over a bulletproof vest, Jerry Sandusky returned to the Centre County Courthouse where his defense team argued for a new trial as part of the appeal process.
Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola was called to testify first. “There were disagreements about what discovery materials we were entitled to,” Amendola said, as he argued that he did not have enough time to prepare an adequate defense.
Sandusky’s co-counsel Norris Gelman questioned Amendola first about how much material he needed to look through before trial. Amendola said that he had over 12,000 documents from the Attorney General’s office and other sources that he only had a chance to look over as opposed to “analyzing” before the trial. “We didn’t have time to review much of the material cited preparing for trial,” Amendola said. “We got to the point where we filed a petition…we could not properly prepare for Mr. Sandusky’s case.”
Amendola argued that due to the sensitivity of the documents, his office also had to make copies of all of the material in house, which turned out to be a time intensive situation. “We cut off investigating in May,” Amendola said. “We couldn’t review thoroughly and adequately what we had already.”
Prosecutor Joe McGettigan cross-examined Amendola which resulted in several passionate exchanges. McGettigan grilled Amendola on what information he didn’t have before trial that would have made a difference in the defense strategy. Amendola admitted that he has not found anything in the six months since trial that he wish he had had before the trial began. “You are incapable of providing one thing not given in the first discovery,” McGettigan said.
Amendola argued that the defense was not provided with the names, addresses, social security numbers, and phone numbers of the alleged victims in a timely manner. McGettigan countered that he knew of all of the victims by February 2nd — a claim which Amendola could not deny.
“When a vast amount of material comes in in the eleventh hour, your ability to prepare suffers,” said Gelman. “We’re arguing presumptive prejudices — you don’t have to show [that it would have made a difference].”
Judge Cleland questioned the practicality of that claim, asking why a new trial should be considered when the defense conceded that any information discovered after trial would not have affected its strategy. “So even though there was nothing discovered after the trial, the defendant is entitled to a new counsel and a new trial?” Cleland asked. “I’m trying to look at the practical effect.”
“That’s our position,” answered Gelman.
No ruling was made today, but one is expected within the next 30 days.
As Sandusky exited the courtroom, he looked at his wife and small group of supporters and said “Thanks everybody,” as he smiled and blew a kiss. “I love you all.”
And with that, he hopped in a waiting police car, where he would make the lonely 200 mile drive back to the Supermax security Greene State Prison.