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Judge Denies Sandusky Appeal

by on October 18, 2017 12:16 PM

A specially-presiding judge on Wednesday denied Jerry Sandusky's appeal seeking to have his child sexual abuse conviction vacated and a new trial order.

Judge John Foradora of Jefferson County, who has been overseeing the case since February, issued the ruling on Wednesday. Sandusky has 30 days to appeal the decision to Pennsylvania Superior Court.

"We achieved justice for the victims in this case and are confident that these convictions will continue to stand," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. "Hopefully, today’s decision will allow the victims of Mr. Sandusky to live their lives knowing that this serial sexual abuser will remain behind bars. We will continue to fight to defend the jury’s verdict. I have zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of children, and our office will pursue anyone who preys on children wherever we find them.”

Sandusky had been appealing under the Post-Conviction Relief Act and evidentiary hearings began in May 2016. Attorneys Al Lindsay and Andrew Salemme have argued that Sandusky received ineffective counsel from attorneys Joe Amendola and Karl Romingerbefore, during and after his trial, where the former Penn State football assistant coach and founder of the Second Mile charity for at-risk youth was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

Those issues have involved whether Amendola and the prosecution knew the identity of Victim 2, who did not testify at trial; why Amendola didn't object to various statements made by prosecutors; whether some victims who testified at trial underwent controversial repressed memory therapy; if Sandusky was fully apprised of the consequences of waiving a preliminary hearing; if Amendola should have more vigorously pursued issues of possible grand jury leaks; and why Amendola allowed Sandusky to do a televised interview with Bob Costas after Sandusky's arrest, among other matters.

In concluding his 59-page opinion, which addressed and rejected each of Sandusky's claims, Foradora wrote, "As the Court has detailed at length, the bulk of Sandusky's claims are meritless... Those that remain, whether they fail for want of prejudice or because Amendola's actions or failure to act were informed by a reasonable strategy, do not combine to call into question the overall effectiveness of the defense counsel provided or the legitimacy of the verdict

Sandusky, 73, is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence in state prison.

On Tuesday, Lindsay and Salemme filed a motion to reopen the record in the case, after receiving a copy of a 2011 email exchange between Mike McQueary, the former Penn State football assistant who testified he saw Sandusky with a boy identified as Victim 2 in a locker room shower, and former Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach. The emails were never provided to Amendola, they said.

McQueary has testified that after witnessing Sandusky and the boy, he called his father, John McQueary, and then went to his parents' home where he discussed what he saw with his father and family friend Dr. Jonathan Dranov.

In the email, sent Nov. 10, 2011, five days after Sandusky was charged and one day after Joe Paterno was fired by Penn State, McQueary says his father did not go with him to talk to Paterno the following morning. "It was me and only me... he was out of town the night before," seemingly referring to John McQueary.

He also says he is being misrepresented in the media. Earlier in the day, as had been presented in McQueary's whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State, McQueary emailed Eshbach and said the grand jury report had twisted his words about what he saw in the shower. McQueary testified he saw what he was sure was a sexual act but could not see he actually saw sodomy occurring.

Eshbach wrote back and said "I know that a lot of this stuff is incorrect and it is hard not to respond. But you can't."

Lindsay and Salemme claimed that the emails countered McQueary's testimony and were further evidence that the prosecution failed to turn over impeachment evidence.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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