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No Ruling at Sandusky Hearing; Amendola Testifies Defense Would Not Change with More Time to Prepare

by on January 09, 2013 5:02 PM

Updated at 11:41 a.m. 

Joe Amendola, Jerry Sandusky's lead defense attorney at his June trial, testified at an evidentiary hearing that adjourned with no ruling on Thursday morning and said that had he been given more time to prepare for trial, the more than 12,000 pages of discovery material would not have been of any use to him. 

Prosecutor Joe McGettigan cross-examined Amendola, who testified – led by Norris Gelman – that although the defense received massive amount of material from the Attorney General's office leading up to and even during Sandusky's trial, much of it was 'not pertinent' to the case they built for their client who was charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. 

Amendola said between January 2012 and June 2012, the defense received more than 12,000 pages of discovery material, flash drives that held hundreds of photos and disks with information that had been seized from Sandusky's computers. 

The material was obtained via discovery requests and motions to compel the prosecution to provide the material. The defense filed nearly 50 discovery requests leading up to trial. 

Amendola said he filed for a continuance as the June trial neared, but when that was denied – the trial had previously been pushed back from a May 14 date – the team had to stop combing through discovery materials and prepare for trial. 

"We didn't have time to review much of the material," Amendola said. "We were trying to work within a timeline ... at the end, we didn't have the time to be that thorough." 

Still, Amendola said during cross-examination he would not have changed his defense had he had more time, in reference to the discovery material alone. 

Some of the material, he said, was 'irrelevant' to the actual trial process. 

"We would have liked a copy of the Freeh report," Amendola said. 

The hearing also focused on post-sentence motions. The defense waived many of its original arguments but honed in on the lack of time given to prepare for trial, the crux of its defense since June. 

Gelman argued that it is within the defense's right to be prepared but was stopped and questioned on the practicality of his argument when he said it was about "presumptive prejudice."

"We can say we know what happened," Cleland said. 

During his testimony, Amendola revealed that as trial approached and it became clear the June date would not be pushed back any further, he and his co-counsel attempted to withdraw as Sandusky's representation in the case. 

Court adjourned around 11 a.m. with no ruling. Cleland requested to meet with counsel in chambers. The judge, true to form, tried to keep Amendola's answers to-the-point and kept his courtroom in order. 

Sandusky did not speak during the proceeding and sat hunched in his chair. 

Before he was led out of the courtroom, Sandusky, who was wearing a red jumpsuit provided by the Centre County Correctional Facility, turned speak to his wife, Dottie, and a group of supporters around her. 

"They're going to ask if you can see me," he said. "I don't know how this works." 

Sandusky was laughing and smiling upon entering the courtroom, where he shook hands and spoke with his defense team. 

Afterward, Cleland signed an order sealing the transcript from a hearing held May 29. 

Posted at 5:02 p.m. Wednesday

Jerry Sandusky begins his appeal process Thursday morning when he returns to Centre County for an evidentiary hearing where his defense team will argue it did not have enough time to prepare for the June trial. 

The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom One of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. 

Sandusky, 68, was convicted on June 22 on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse and was sentenced on Oct. 9 to 30-60 years in prison. He spends 23 hours a day in a single cell at SCI Greene, a maximum security prison about three hours away from State College. 

Judge John Cleland granted the hearing at the request of Sandusky's defense team, which features Joe Amendola, Karl Rominger and Norris Gelman, a Philadelphia-based attorney who was retained after Sandusky's conviction. 

Cleland signed an order on Friday banning all electronic devices from the courtroom as a consequence of various media members violating his decorum order – which was supposed to have the effect of placing a moratorium on all live coverage while court was in session – during the trial and conviction. 

Follow @SCNewsDesk, @StateCollegecom and @LC_Nichols for complete coverage of the hearing. 

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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