As the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case nears jury selection June 5, some of his attorney’s requests for materials to build a defense apparently are getting closer to being resolved.
Joe Amendola told Senior Judge John Cleland on Wednesday during a hearing that all his current requests have been satisfied. There are likely more discovery requests to come from Amendola from new materials he’s received, but that seems to be in keeping with the pace set by Cleland. The judge has said he wants to keep the trial on track to start in a few weeks.
But Amendola did ask for a delay in the trial, telling the judge in filings Wednesday that his investigators need time to find potential witnesses who became known through recent discovery materials from the prosecution. Amendola didn’t say how much time he’d like, but he indicated he doesn’t think Sandusky can get a fair trial unless two former Penn State administrators can testify.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and retired senior vice president Gary Schultz have been charged in Dauphin County with perjury and failing to report abuse. Their attorneys have told the Sandusky defense that the men will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights not to testify if called as witnesses for Sandusky’s defense.
The hearing Wednesday focused on objections to subpoenas sent out by the defense, but was largely uneventful — without startling revelations or a war of words from the attorneys at a press conference afterward since Cleland issued a gag order in the case.
During the afternoon hearing in the Centre County Courthouse, attorneys from a number of school districts, state departments and institutions argued the judge should throw out the subpoenas mainly on the grounds the information requested isn’t disclosable under privacy laws. They argued individually.
Cleland did not rule Wednesday after the 90-plus-minute hearing, which Sandusky did not attend. The judge did say he’d likely throw out some parts of the subpoenas and will black-out information the defense can’t have. He’ll review other items in his chamber to see if the defense should have access to them.
Amendola found out Wednesday that some of the records he sought with the subpoenas — for building his defense to discredit the alleged victims — don’t exist. Amendola was also pressed by Cleland — “What do you really want?” Cleland asked with a smile, referencing the subpoena to the Keystone Central School District that sought IQ tests, grade reports, attendance records and psychological evaluations the district said were confidential and irrelevant to the case.
Amendola was straightforward: “Any evidence that these students suffered from behavioral issues, mental health issues, prior to their contact with The Second Mile and the defendant.” Amendola is expected to try to raise doubt about the young men’s credibility at trial. Cleland didn’t say a word about the defense’s motion to delay the trial, in which Amendola said he can’t adequately prepare for trial without more time.
In the filing, Amendola outlined his reasons that cited recent discovery materials that have made the defense aware of new potential witnesses and the criminal case against Curley and Schultz. The potential witnesses will need to be located and interviewed by his investigators, he wrote. And he maintained that Sandusky won’t get a fair trial without the testimony of Curley and Schultz. In a separate filings Wednesday, defense co-counsel Karl Rominger is asking that all “documents, things, and testimony” related to the grand jury be released and he asked for an earlier release of grand jury testimony. Previously, the defense was set to get the testimony of witnesses 10 days before trial.
Wednesday’s hearing also included:
Second Mile attorney Howard Rosenthal, who said some records the defense is requesting actually can’t be released because of other subpoenas the charity has received. Further, he said two alleged victims, Nos. 3 and 7, object to the defense getting charity records, but he didn’t elaborate on why. Rosenthal also argued some of the records aren’t relevant to the case, such as a list of people invited to Sandusky’s retirement dinner and the charity’s third-party review of its policies.
Attorneys for Bald Eagle Area, Mifflin County and Keystone Central school districts, who said they’d have the judge review some records in his chambers while arguing that others are privileged. They maintain some are irrelevant to the case.
The attorney representing State College psychologist Alycia Chambers, who said records on Chambers’ client, alleged victim No. 6, don’t exist anymore because they’ve been destroyed. Guy Brooks told the judge they’d have been privileged documents anyway.
Brooks was furious, though, that the report Chambers wrote to Penn State police investigating Sandusky in 1998 surfaced online. It was part of the 1998 Penn State police investigative report leaked to the media in March.
The attorney for Juniata College said officials there declined to hire Sandusky as an assistant football coach in 2010 because the background check revealed he had been the subject of an investigation into child abuse at another school.