Lawyer sure convicted pedophile Sandusky will speak at sentencing

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

Sandusky's lawyer believes his client will proclaim his innocence at his sentencing. (AP)  
Sandusky's lawyer believes his client will proclaim his innocence at his sentencing. (AP)  

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Former college football coach Jerry Sandusky and at least some of his victims plan to address the judge at his sentencing, a proceeding that may last less than two hours, lawyers said after a closed-door meeting to iron out logistics ahead of the Tuesday hearing.

Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola said "it's as certain as certain can be" that the former Penn State assistant coach will speak to Judge John Cleland and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

More on Penn State
Commentary
Related links
More college football coverage

"What I anticipate he'll say is he's innocent," Amendola said outside the courthouse Monday afternoon.

The Sandusky case, which tarnished the reputation of one of the most storied college football programs in the U.S. and stunned a nation where college sports are revered, led to the firing of longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who died from lung cancer in January.

Penn State football under Paterno was built on the premise that it did things the right way, that it was not a football factory where only wins and losses determined success. All major college football program try to send that message, but Penn State built its brand on it.

Along with Sandusky, prosecutors last year arrested two Penn State administrators and charged them with lying to the grand jury that investigated Sandusky and failing to properly report suspected abuse. Tim Curley, the athletic director on leave, and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president for business and finance, deny the charges and await trial.

The case also led to the ouster of university President Graham Spanier, who remains a faculty member. Eight legal teams that represent at least 20 victims or other potential civil claimants have surfaced, and Penn State has indicated its desire to settle claims out of court.

Amendola said he did not expect any others to speak on Sandusky's behalf, although friends and family members -- including his wife, Dottie -- have written letters of support. Dottie Sandusky plans to attend the hearing, he said.

Given the number of charges, the serious nature of his crimes and his age, the 68-year-old Sandusky faces the likelihood of a sentence that will send him to state prison for the rest of his life. Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including some attacks inside Penn State athletic facilities.

"The important thing for us is, it starts the appellate process," Amendola said.

One element of the appeal is expected to be a claim that the defense did not have time to adequately prepare for trial. Sandusky was charged in November, following a lengthy investigation.

Tom Kline, lawyer for a young man who said Sandusky groped him in a shower when he was 12 or 13, said his client plans to read a statement Tuesday.

"He's going to tell the judge how this has affected him, how it's been painful and difficult," Kline said.

Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said as many as a half-dozen victims are expected to be heard.

The eight victims who testified against Sandusky at trial described abuse that ranged from grooming and fondling to oral and anal sex. Sandusky did not take the stand but gave interviews shortly after his arrest in which he declared he was not guilty.

Karl Rominger, another Sandusky defense lawyer, said the sentencing and a related proceeding to determine if Sandusky qualifies as a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law should take less than two hours.

Rominger said a 30-year minimum sentence -- which would keep Sandusky behind bars at least until he's nearly 100 -- was probably the most the defense could hope for.

Rominger said on WHP radio that Sandusky knows the judge could impose a longer sentence if Sandusky insists he is innocent, but some offenses carry mandatory minimums that are likely to translate into an effective life sentence.

"Why worry about the niceties of pleasing the court when it won't change your sentence?" Rominger said.

After Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Sandusky most likely would be sent to Camp Hill state prison. There, he would be tested and evaluated by Department of Corrections personnel, who will determine which institution he will be sent to.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
  •  
 
 

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 

Latest

Most Popular

CBSSports.com Shop