Amendola's Defense of Jerry Sandusky is a Train Wreck

OPINION

on June 18 2012 3:08 PM

The defense of Jerry Sandusky began Monday morning, and it was every bit the trainwreck most imagined.  

The first two witnesses that Sandusky's primary attorney, Joe Amendola, called to the stand were former Penn State assistant coaches Richard Anderson and Booker Brooks, who both admitted to showering with children in the past.

Anderson admitted to showering with children in the local YMCA and in the Penn State locker rooms when he was a coach in State College, Pa., while Brooks said it was a normal occurrence as both a boy and as a coach to shower with the other.

Amendola's likely intent was to show that a coach showering with children wasn't out of the ordinary, but both coaches distinguished themselves from Sandusky, who currently faces 51 counts of abuse.

Anderson said he never showered alone with children -- it was always as part of a bigger group -- and Brooks admitted that hugging a boy while naked -- something that Sandusky has admitted to doing -- was inappropriate contact.

It was a bizarre defensive tactic by Amendola, but most have come to expect harebrained ideas from the defense attorney. The fact that Amendola led off with this defense also showcased how little of a chance Sandusky has to beat the sexual abuse allegations.

Sandusky's decision to go to trial was a Hail Mary pass attempt from the beginning, but it made some sense for the former Penn State defensive coordinator to forward with the court proceedings. No prosecutor in the country was going to cut him a plea deal for less than life in prison, so it made sense to roll the dice with a trial and hope for a sympathetic jury.

It was a longshot that any jury would find a person like Sandusky innocent, especially after listening to his disastrous interview with Bob Costas where he essentially admits to molesting young boys, but it was worth a shot.

The issue is that Amendola has put together a pitiful defense that focused on insinuating the victims were making these allegations in hopes of a financial payout and pointing out slight differences in testimonies.

If it were one or two victims, it could be a reasonable argument to make -- the Bernie Fine story is a perfect example -- but it is absurd to think 10 children, including the eight who have testified in court, would be willing to go through all of the pain and shame of testifying about Sandusky's sexual deviancy in hopes of a small check.

Amendola was crushed multiple times during cross-examination when it was clear that he was asking a question he didn't know the answer to -- a big no-no in the legal profession -- only to have his question allow the witness to further doom Sandusky's case.

But the biggest mistake in the defense of Sandusky is one that hasn't even happened yet.

According to reports out of the courthouse on Monday, the defense may rest as early as Wednesday and probably will not put Sandusky on the stand.

The decision not to put Sandusky on the stand would go against the whole point of trying this case in court.

The whole mantra of going forward in public court was there was little to lose by doing so. That applies directly to Sandusky testifying: What is there to lose?

Sandusky has as good of a chance at being found not guilty of the 51 charges as former ESPN analyst Craig James did at winning his election in Texas. Let's just say James didn't fare too well in that one.

There is nothing to lose by putting Sandusky on the stand and hoping that he can convince a juror or two that he didn't commit the alleged heinous crimes.

It is doubtful that Sandusky testifying would overcome the harrowing testimony from his accusers, but the whole court case would prove to be a big waste of time if Amendola and the rest of the defense attorneys are unwilling to play every card they have.

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