Jerry Sandusky’s attorney told jurors there was a “chain reaction” of events, starting with one boy and a story that spiraled into an effort by police to show that the former Penn State football coach is a serial pedophile, and that attorneys could profit from it.
“Folks, do we have to get hit in the head with a brick to figure this out? This man’s life is at stake,” said Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s attorney, during a passionate closing argument to the jury that lasted 74 minutes.
Amendola addressed what he said the prosecutors would do: “tug on your heartstrings” and show pictures of the boys.
“I’ll be the first one to tell you, if he did this he should rot in jail the rest of his life,” Amendola said.
But, he warned, don’t be fooled and get tied up by the pictures.
Piece by piece, Amendola went through the allegations Sandusky is facing and events around them, trying to chip away at the state’s case by showing the holes in it, a lack of evidence, financial motivations of those involved and police tactics used during a case that was dragging.
“We need you to tell us this is what happened,” Amendola said, reading from a police interview with one of the alleged victims while the case was being investigated.
“I want you to understand you’re not alone,” the police officer told the boy.
“I submit to you they’re going to get him hell or high water even if they have to coach witnesses,” Amendola said.
After a short break, the jury will hear from prosecutors.
Amendola went through the allegations, saying there’s a lack of physical evidence. At times, he addressed specific issues and at other times he said what prosecutors said happened would have been logistically unlikely.
How could he have been rotating children in and out of his house and they didn’t see each other and he still had time for his job? Amendola asked
“Mr. Sandusky, if you believe their testimony, was a very busy man. How in the world did he work?” he said, referring to the busy schedule Penn State coaches had, compared with the hours of time he must have needed for the alleged abuse.
Amendola said the case against Sandusky started with an alleged victim who wanted to hang out with a friend instead of keeping plans with Sandusky.
To do that, the boy, Amendola said, told his mother Sandusky fondled him, never anticipating the chain of events.
According to a neighbor, the mother remarked that she and her son could make money on it.
Amendola took up the allegations specifically, including those stemming from Mike McQueary, who testified that he walked in to find Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy.
“Mike McQueary didn’t do one thing to stop what he said he saw,” Amendola said.
He said McQueary saw something in the shower and made assumptions.
Amendola, reaching the end of his closing argument, said Sandusky’s next book will be “Slammed,” because that’s what’s happening to him.
Everything he ever built is gone, including his reputation, Amendola said.