Prelim Preview: Sandusky Hearing
For the past month, the all-encompassing Jerry Sandusky scandal has played out through media. In less than four hours, it will return to the courtroom for the preliminary hearing. Although the preliminary hearing should not be misinterpreted as a trial, that does not mean it is in any way unimportant. Today’s proceedings will have a great impact going forward and should set the tone for a possible trial to come. Below is an overview of what is planned for the hearing this morning:
- Who: Jerry Sandusky v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Where: Center County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Take a virtual tour of the building.
- When: 8:30 a.m. until possibly late into the night
- Important Individuals Scheduled to Testify: At least eight alleged victims, Mike McQueary
- Presiding Judge: Senior Magisterial District Judge Robert E. Scott (Westmoreland County)
- Jury: None present at a hearing
- Prosecution: Attorney General Linda Kelly
- Defense: Joseph Amendola
- Communication from media to public: Senior Judge John Cleland (McKean County) ruled earlier this afternoon that Twitter updates from those in the media section will be permitted during the hearing
- Potential Results: Dismissal of charges, trial date (With potential plea deal)
Forty days ago, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania was a relatively unknown little town with a population of 6,200 located less than 15 miles outside of State College. In a few short hours, national media will swarm the small borough for a hearing that will be anything but ordinary. In addition to credentialed media members who have seats and individuals who won a seat through a general public random drawing, several people, without tickets will arrive in Bellefonte with different agenda–including those who wish to protest.
There are many interesting story lines heading into tomorrow morning:
The victims: As mentioned above, at least eight victims are expected to testify and perhaps two others will as well. They are no longer young children, but the degree to which they can maintain their composure and deliver testimony with Sandusky in plain sight will be something to be on the watch for.
Mike McQueary: Since McQueary was identified as the graduate assistant who allegedly witnessed a crime in the grand jury report, everyone has been waiting for him to talk, and the latest Patriot-News story with a new version of what allegedly took place only makes it more compelling. While that version alone most likely impacts Tim Curley and Gary Schultz much more than Sandusky himself, McQueary’s testimony will be greatly anticipated. Hearsay evidence will not be accepted at a potential trial, but it will be considered tomorrow. Originally, McQueary looked like an extremely credible witness. That may no longer be the case.
Amendola: While tomorrow is more about evidence from the prosecution, Amendola will get a glimpse of what his client is up against upon hearing live testimony. Many of his methods, including parading Sandusky before the media for a variety of interviews, have been widely criticized so far. The testimony that he hears tomorrow will allow him to prepare for cross-examining witnesses at a potential trial.
It does not appear that Sandusky and the defense are willing to negotiate any type of plea bargain making it likely that this will proceed to trial. However, they also don’t know exactly what they’re up against. Tomorrow, around this time, the next step in the legal process could be known.
But at this very moment, we know that a chaotic, emotional day awaits in Bellefonte, something the town is not the least bit accustomed to.