CRIME

Jerry Sandusky Hearing Live Updates: Ex-Penn State Assistant Coach Waives Right To Preliminary Hearing

12/13/2011 08:31 am ET | Updated Dec 13, 2011

Jerry Sandusky walked out of a Bellefonte, Pa. court moments after he arrived, waiving his right to a preliminary hearing and sparing the former Penn State assistant football coach the humiliation of having his alleged victims outline their accusations of sexual abuse in open court.

The decision to bow out allowed Sandusky's legal team to avoid potentially damaging revelations about their client, who stands accused of more than 50 counts of child sex abuse. But it also means that Sandusky's attorneys passed on an opportunity to take a look at the prosecution's playbook before the case goes to trial.

Sandusky is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 11.

Eleven victims and witnesses were expected to testify against Sandusky. Following the preliminary hearing, a judge would have decided whether there was enough evidence to put the former assistant coach on trial.

The preliminary hearing was expected to provide new details that were not revealed during earlier grand jury hearings. Those details may have further tarnished Sandusky's reputation -- but they could have helped his defense team concoct a strategy before going to trial.

Sandusky's decision to waive the preliminary hearing has sparked speculation about a possible plea deal, though prosecutors insist there have been no such discussions.

Sandusky has denied all of the accusations against him

"We fully intend to put together the best possible defense and stay the course for four full quarters," Sandusky said while leaving the courtroom, according to the Twitter feed of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ron Musselman.

In a news conference, Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola said his team made the decision to waive the preliminary hearing after realizing they would not be able to use it to conduct a "reasonable cross-examination" of witnesses.

Amendola said "credibility" would be the main factor in the case, and insisted it was the state that forced witnesses into the courtroom this morning.

"We did not drag people into court, in fact we tried to avoid that," he said.

Earlier this week, Amendola said Sandusky was "looking forward to the opportunity to face his accusers."

The allegations against the former coach have lead to the ouster of football coach and Penn State icon Joe Paterno as well as university president Graham Spanier.

SEE PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S PRELIMINARY HEARING:

Jerry Sandusky Trial

SEE PHOTOS OF THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE CASE:

Key Players In The Sandusky Scandal At Penn State (All Images via AP)

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