Defense attorney Joe Amendola arrives at the courthouse in Centre County,… (Nabil K. Mark / Centre Daily…)
The lead defense attorney representing Jerry Sandusky told reporters on Friday that it would be a shock if the former Penn State University assistant football coach were acquitted of all of the charges of sexually abusing children now being weighed by sequestered jurors.
As the jury of seven women and five men ordered dinner and continued their deliberations well into the second day, defense attorney Joseph Amendola told reporters in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., that he would “probably die of a heart attack” if Sandusky beat all of the charges, according to media reports from the courtroom.
“With 52 charges, do you know what the odds are of walking on all 48 or 52 charges? Very slim,” Amendola said. “The likelihood is strong he will be convicted of something.”
Sandusky, 68, is charged with 48 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He originally faced 52 charges, but four were dismissed during the trial. If convicted on all of the remaining charges, Sandusky could face prison sentences totaling hundreds of years.
Like all of the lawyers in the case, Amendola is under a gag order that prevents him from speaking to the media. However, he spoke with reporters for about 15 minutes before he was called to the chambers of Judge John M. Cleland, who is overseeing the trial, the Associated Press reported. The trial began with opening statements on June 11.
The jury is unaware of Amendola’s comments because it is sequestered from the outside world and the media during deliberations that began on Thursday. Jurors also do not know that one of Sandusky’s six adopted children has publicly claimed that he was sexually abused by the former coach.
No one knows what is going on in the jury room, but jurors have given some hints about their discussion through the communications with the court.
They appear to have wrestled with the two cases in which the accusers did not testify. Eight accusers took the stand to describe abuse by Sandusky. But in two cases the boys have not been found, so other witnesses testified instead. The jurors seemed to be interested in what weight they should give that testimony.
In the case of Victim 8, Ron Petroskey, a janitor, testified that a co-worker, Jim Calhoun, told him he had seen Sandusky in a shower engaging in a sex act with a boy. Calhoun cannot personally testify because he is suffering from dementia. Cleland told the jurors that they must be satisfied that there is other evidence that abuse occurred, not just the statements.
Earlier Friday, the jurors again heard the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former graduate student and football coach, who said he saw Sandusky engage in a sex act on a boy 10 or 12 years old in showers at Penn State.
The jury also again heard the words of Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a defense witness and friend of the McQueary family. Dranov said this week that McQueary gave a less graphic version of that event when they talked in 2001.
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