Attorneys for the alleged abuse victims of Jerry Sandusky say their clients are feeling a range of emotions in the wake of news they won’t have to testify before the full trial of the former Penn State coach.
Minutes after the all-rise order came from inside the court room in Bellefonte, Pa., where a magistrate judge was scheduled to preside over the preliminary hearing of Sandusky on charges of child sex crimes, word came from the bench that the former Penn State defensive coordinator would waive his right to a preliminary hearing.
Outside, Ben Andreozzi, the attorney for the man identified in the grand jury presentment as Victim Number Four, says his client would have been the first accuser to testify for the prosecution.
“This is the written statement that he prepared,” his attorney said. ” ‘This is the most difficult time of my life. I can’t put into words how unbearable this has been on my life both physically and mentally. I can’t believe they put us through this until the last second only to waive the hearing.’ “
Joe Amendola, who is leading Sandusky’s legal defense team, said the decision was made late Monday night. He said the defense will be able to establish a lack of credibility of witnesses at a full trial.
As he left the courthouse, Sandusky maintained his innocence.
He intends, he said, “to stay the course, to fight for four quarters. We await the opportunity to present our side.”
Tom Kline, who represents another of the alleged victims, said he didn’t suspect the hearing would be called off until he took his seat in the first row of the courtroom behind the prosecution table.
“When I saw the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Mr. Sandusky, and a court reporter head back into the judge’s chambers … as a lawyer who has been around court rooms for over three decades, even I could figure out that something was up,” Kline said.
Kline said he texted his client to tell him the hearing had been cancelled.
He says the texted response was one word: “Why?”