Jerry Sandusky waives preliminary hearing
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky opted against forcing his accusers to make their claims of child sex abuse in a packed courtroom Tuesday but then took his case to the courthouse steps as his lawyer assailed the credibility of the alleged victims and witnesses.
"There will be no plea negotiations," defense lawyer Joseph Amendola said. "This is a fight to the death."
Waiving such a preliminary hearing is not unusual but it was unexpected in this case: Amendola repeatedly had said his client was looking forward to facing his accusers. Afterward, he called the cancellation a "tactical decision" to prevent the men from reiterating the same claims they made to the grand jury.
Lawyers for the alleged victims said some were relieved they would not have to make their claims in public before a trial, but others said they had steeled themselves to face Sandusky and were left disappointed.
"It would have been apparent from watching those boys and their demeanor that they were telling the truth," said Howard Janet, a lawyer for a boy whose mother contacted police in 1998 after her son allegedly showered with Sandusky.
Sandusky has denied the allegations, which led to the departures of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and the university president. He is charged with more than 50 counts that accuse him of sexually abusing 10 boys over the span of 12 years.
Amendola said he believed some of the young men may have trumped up their claims and that others may came forward in a bid to make money by suing Sandusky, Penn State and the charity Sandusky founded.
"We're pursuing a financial motivation," Amendola said, "Finances and money are great motivators."
Michael Boni, a lawyer representing an accuser known as Victim 1, said Amendola was "reaching into his bag of tricks."
"I can tell you that Victim No. 1 is credible. He was the first one to come forward," he said.
Sandusky told reporters as he left the courthouse that he would "stay the course, to fight for four quarters" and "wait for the opportunity to present our side."
Many defendants waive preliminary hearings, during which prosecutors must show that they have probable cause to bring the case to trial.
Prosecutors in this case were expected to meet that relatively low bar, in part because the case been through a grand jury.
Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Marc Costanzo said the move "provides maximum protection to most importantly the victims in this case."
"It avoids their having to testify for a second time," Costanzo said. "They will of course testify at a trial in the case."
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