Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola: "We had an uphill battle"
(CBS News) The attorney of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty Friday on 45 of 48 counts in his child sex abuse case, said that they were facing an uphill battle in regards to a defense.
"From the beginning... we had a tidal wave public opinion against Jerry Sandusky and the charges filed against him," said Joe Amendola Friday night in comments delivered following Sandusky's guilty verdict, "that he had been determined to be guilty by the public and the media from the very outset of the charges, and that we had an uphill battle. I use the analogy: We were attempting to climb Mount Everest from the bottom of the mount. Obviously we didn't make it."
Amendola said that the Sandusky family was very disappointed at the outcome. He also added that he felt Sandusky would get a fairer shake through a jury, but added the jury believed the Commonwealth's evidence. "I've been asked already inside is that a surprise. And no, it was the expected outcome, because of the overwhelming amount of evidence against Jerry Sandusky," said Amendola.
Amendola said that he has some appeal issues to pursue. He also added that the prosecution handled the case in an exemplary manner and complimented John Cleland, the judge in the case. "The only disagreement we had was a request for a continuance," said Amendola.
As to why his client didn't take the stand during the trial, Amendola said a gag order was in place. He cited that Thursday evening, he received a call from the Commonwealth attorneys that Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, had contacted them and said that the former Penn State coach abused him years ago, and that they were thinking of putting Matt Sandusky as a witness at the trial.
"I objected," explained Amendola. "I indicated that our whole case was predicated with Jerry testifying. Jerry had always wanted to testify However, the next day, the Commonwealth attorney advised me he would not call Matt Sandusky...that it would reserve the right to call him as a rebuttal witness depending on whatever evidence we presented. That created a real dilemma for us, because now if we call Jerry Sandusky as a witness, it would have resulted in the Commonwealth being permitted to call Matt Sandusky at rebuttal.
"We decided as a little strategy position that to put Jerry on the stand, to set him up to have Matt come in to this jury and testify against him, would have absolutely destroyed whatever chances at acquittal. He reluctantly agreed not to testify."
Asked if the 45 guilty counts proved that his client is sick, Amendola answered no. "There are lots of people sitting in jails all across this country who have been executed for murder and later determined to have been innocent. What this proves to me I believe the jury acted genuinely and in good faith, i believe the jury acted on the evidence that was presented to it. I don't have any problems with the jury's verdict."
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