Huffpost Crime

Joseph Amendola Profile: Jerry Sandusky's Lawyer Grabs Spotlight In Child Abuse Case

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AMENDOLA
Joe Amendola, attorney for Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, walks to a news conference outside of the Centre County Courthouse in Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Bellefonte, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) link photo-hub-origin.web.aol.com | AP

By Mark Shade and Dave Warner

BELLEFONTE, Pa, Dec 13 (Reuters) - It was expected to be a
day when accusers of former Penn State football coach Jerry
Sandusky -- listed up to now in court documents only as
nameless alleged Victims 1 to 10 -- would tell their stories.

It ended up being a day dominated by the defense telling
its side of the story, thanks to unorthodox attorney Joe
Amendola.

In a scene that could have come straight from a Hollywood
drama, Amendola drew gasps when he waived his client's right to
a hearing that was to decide if there was enough evidence to go
to trial. Sandusky will go straight to trial.

Then, after leading Sandusky and an entourage including his
wife Dottie, and about 15 supporters including some youths from
The Second Mile charity at the center of the abuse scandal,
Amendola stayed behind for an hour and held forth to a throng
of reporters.

Standing in the mid-30s temperature in a suit but no
overcoat, and complaining about the cold as he spoke, the
defense attorney laid out what may be his strategy going
forward -- attack the prosecutors and the accusers.

Amendola left no doubt that the main person in his
crosshairs is Mike McQueary, the tall, red-headed Penn State
assistant football coach who set off a chain of events when he
told then head football coach Joe Paterno in 2002 that he saw
alleged Victim 2 in a shower with Sandusky.

"What's his motive? I don't know but we'll find out,"
Amendola said. "But we didn't need to find out today because we
have enough inconsistencies at this point to totally wipe
(McQueary) off of our case," he said.

He also criticized prosecutors for taking Sandusky from his
State College home in handcuffs when he was arrested a second
time last week and 12 new charges of abuse were filed, bringing
to 52 the number of counts against Sandusky.

Sandusky spent that night in jail before posting a $250,000
cash bail and being released on house arrest, monitored by an
electronic ankle bracelet.

"I think the commonwealth (state of Pennsylvania) has been
out to get him," said Amendola.

He said the accusers are colluding against his client for
financial gain -- pointing out that both The Second Mile
charity and Penn State have rich budgets. Sandusky is accused
of "grooming" his victims through The Second Mile, a charity he
founded to help troubled children.

"We are pursuing the financial motivation. There is a lot
of money out there," Amendola said of the accusers.

Prosecutors made only brief comments after the aborted
hearing, saying that they had been prepared to call 11
witnesses, including some of the alleged victims.

While all the accusers have said they were abused as boys
or juveniles, most are now adults and none have been named
publicly. Had they testified on Tuesday that anonymity would
have ended.

The silence from the accusers left the debate field open
for Amendola and he seized it.

As a crush of media squeezed into the courtroom and an
overflow room equipped with closed circuit TV to record the
accusers' testimony, Amendola began the morning asking for a
private conversation with Judge Robert Scott and prosecutors at
the bench. It lasted for about 30 seconds.

The judge then announced that the defense had agreed to
waive the hearing and go directly to a criminal trial next
year.

Scott looked at Sandusky, who was wearing a blue suit and
dark red tie, and asked, "Is this indeed your choice?"

Sandusky nodded and quietly said, "Yes."

It was over before it began.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

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