Sandusky lawyer: Cover-up charges ‘ridiculous and absurd’

Posted: August 02, 2012

Jerry Sandusky's attorney slammed the findings of an investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh on Wednesday, calling the conclusion that top administrators at Pennsylvania State University conspired to cover up child sex abuse "ridiculous and absurd."

In an interview Wednesday, Joseph Amendola said Sandusky is "totally distraught" over the damage his conviction has caused to the Penn State football program and the reputation of its longtime head football coach Joe Paterno.

The attorney also questioned the credibility that has been granted to Freeh's report, which was released last month and commissioned by university trustees last year days after they voted to fire Paterno.

"As a defense lawyer, when I needed an expert, I got an expert and told them my take on it," he said. "And guess what? At trial, my expert came back and lo and behold said, 'Oh yeah, that's what happened.'"

Speaking of Freeh's investigators, Amendola added: "They made the conclusion that they anticipated the board of trustees wanted them to make."

Freeh concluded that top administrators including Paterno, former university president Graham B. Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz, an ex-vice president in charge of campus police, failed to report allegations against Sandusky to outside authorities fearing negative publicity.

And last week, the NCAA imposed crippling sanctions on the university's football program based on Freeh's findings. Those punishments included a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play and the forfeiture of all team wins from 1998 through last year.

The association announced Wednesday that George Mitchell, a former U.S. senator from Maine who led an investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball, would serve as the campus' athletics integrity monitor over the next five years. His duties will include drafting quarterly reports on the progress of Penn State's athletic programs to the NCAA, Penn State's trustees and the Big 10 athletic conference.

"He helped build Penn State's football program into what it has been over the years," Amendola said of his client. "Here's an institution he loved, and now to be told that the NCAA has sanctioned Penn State because of what he is accused of. . . . He's devastated. He doesn't understand why Penn State has been dragged into this."

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sex abuse and remains in solitary confinement in the Centre County Correctional facility.

Though he has asked to be moved into general population, he eagerly awaits his sentencing and the start of his appeal process, Amendola said.

"The sentencing is going to be very difficult for Jerry," he said. "We're assuming he's going to get a significant prison sentence, but he continues to hope that on appeal he'll get another shot at trial and will have the opportunity to present another side."

Also Wednesday, Judge John M. Cleland threw out a motion from Amendola's cocounsel Karl Rominger that challenged an earlier ruling designed to staunch leaks that have plagued the ongoing grand jury investigation into the case.

Cleland barred defense lawyers in June from releasing any material they received from prosecutors as part of the discovery process and ordered them to submit a list of all people who had received such material to date.

Rominger argued in a July 12 filing that the order violates the confidentiality typically given to attorneys in preparing their case.

On Wednesday, Cleland gave Sandusky's defense team three weeks to refile a challenge.


Contact staff writer Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, jroebuck@phillynews.com, or @jeremyrroebuck on Twitter.

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