Disgraced Pennsylvania State University football coach Jerry Sandusky testified Friday in his bid for a new trial, vigorously denying he abused boys for decades and disparaging his former legal team.
Sandusky is seeking a new trial under Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act ineffective counsel provision, arguing his lawyers in the original trial did not provide his constitutionally-guaranteed robust defense. The law requires that Sandusky demonstrate his legal team’s mistakes “so undermined the truth-determining process that no reliable adjudication of guilt or innocence could have taken place.”
“We think that, based on the evidence, our chances are good the judge will grant a new trial,” his current attorney, Alexander Lindsay, told Reuters.
Lindsay says Sandusky’s original lawyer, Joe Amendola, made a series of fatal mistakes which compromised his defense. During opening statements, he conceded the prosecution had marshaled “overwhelming” evidence against his client. He also urged Sandusky not to take the stand in his own defense and sanctioned an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas with practically no preparation. Lindsay also says Sandusky was effectively tried and convicted in the court of public opinion long before the trial began.
The media sensationalism which accompanied the trial features prominently in Lindsay’s arguments. He contends dozens of victims only came forward after press accounts of a grand jury investigation concerning a single victim.
“We feel strongly that the claims laid out in his petition are meritless, and we intend to vigorously challenge those claims in court,” the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said in an e-mailed statement to the wire service.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in 2012, and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years at the Pennsylvania’s supermax prison. His testimony on Friday is the first time he has spoken in his own defense in court. He made a brief statement during sentencing asserting his innocence.
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