Jerry Sandusky took the stand to testify in open court for the first time Friday morning, denying he had committed acts of child sexual abuse and presenting his claims that he received ineffective counsel during his June 2012.
Early in his testimony, Sandusky attorney Al Lindsay asked Sandusky if he had committed the abuse for which he was convicted.
“Absolutely not,” Sandusky said forcefully. “That idea is totally foreign to me, disgusting… something I would never have done with anyone.”
The hearing was the first of three this month for Sandusky to establish his claims as he seeks a new trial under the Post Conviction Relief Act. The former Penn State assistant football coach and founder of the Second Mile charity for at-risk youth was convicted on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse and sentenced to 30-60 years in state prison.
Sandusky testified for about an hour, addressing various issues that he says demonstrate ineffective counsel by his trial attorney, Joesph Amendola.
Sandusky said the legal process was new to him and he trusted Amendola’s advice. That advice included not testifying after it became known in the middle of the trial his adopted son Matt Sandusky – whom the elder Sandusky referred to on the stand as his “former son” – would testify for the prosecution if called and say he had been abused. Matt Sandusky had previously supported his adoptive father.
Amendola was “very upset” when he learned about Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky said, and told Jerry Sandusky and two of Sandusky’s other sons that he did not think they should testify.
Amendola also advised Sandusky to waive his preliminary hearing, which Sandusky argues was a lost opportunity to see the prosecution’s case.
Former attorney Karl Rominger, who assisted Amendola on the case, agreed, testifying later in the morning that the preliminary hearing is an important part of the legal process and that he expressed concerns to Amendola and Sandusky about waiving it.
Updates to follow.