Sandusky case: Some evidence did not make it into trial

Posted: August 16, 2012

Prosecutors collected a "great deal" of "highly incriminating" evidence against Jerry Sandusky, including interviews with several other victims, that was never introduced at his June trial, according to a transcript of a closed-door hearing released Tuesday.

During a June 26 conference, Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina expressed concern that some of this information had emerged in news reports on the case. He worried that continued leaks could harm Sandusky's accusers and taint the ongoing investigation.

His concerns have since prompted a judicial probe into leaks of secret grand jury material in the case of Sandusky and two Penn State administrators charged with lying about their knowledge of his actions.

"It's not in the interest of Mr. Sandusky to have additional incriminating information being revealed to the public," Fina said, according to the transcript. "There's a great deal of . . . evidence that, for a variety of reasons, the Commonwealth did not utilize but that was highly incriminating of Mr. Sandusky."

On Tuesday, Judge John M. Cleland unsealed the transcript of the hearing, held three days after a Centre County jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse.

That morning NBC News had broadcast an audio of an interview in which the former assistant football coach's eldest son Matt claimed that his father had repeatedly molested him in his youth.

Throughout the closed door meeting, Judge Cleland, who handled Sandusky's trial, and grand jury Judge Barry Feudale pressed prosecutors and Sandusky's lawyers Joseph Amendola and Karl Rominger on whether they had leaked the tape to NBC.

Only three copies of the recording existed, Fina said: one held by the attorney general's office, another by state police and a third given to Sandusky's defense team.

"The irony is we have no reason to release that tape to the media to have them play that tape in which apparently he says that his father committed inappropriate acts with him," Amendola said, according to the transcript. "That's certainly not in our best interest to reveal that. It makes no sense."

Fina's cocounsel Joseph McGettigan responded, referencing NBC's report: "You also have no reason to comment on it, yet Mr. Rominger was making comments on the same interview that the tape was played."

Rominger shot back, implying prosecutors may have been behind another high-profile leak - a series of e-mails between several top Penn State administrators discussing how to respond to a 2001 molestation allegation lodged against Sandusky.

Those e-mails formed the backbone of former FBI director Louis Freeh's scathing report last month on what he described as a conspiracy among Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, university president Graham B. Spanier and other officials to cover up Sandusky's behavior. But they were first reported and quoted at length in a June 28 CNN report that aired three weeks before the release of the Freeh report.

"That's a significant concern," Fina responded, before shifting blame elsewhere. "Unfortunately, copies of those also are held by Penn State."

The judges have since barred attorneys from both sides from giving any discovery material with anyone outside of their respective legal teams and ordered them to produce a list of any people who have received information from them to date.

Rominger has appealed that order, arguing that revealing who he is sharing information with unfairly forces him to divulge his strategy for Sandusky's appeal.

No decision has been made on that case.


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

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