BELLEFONTE (KDKA) — Jerry Sandusky was charged in November with child sexual abuse and just seven months later, the former Penn State assistant football coach is already on trial.
The trial is expected to last three weeks, but is moving quickly through the prosecution’s roughly two dozen witnesses.
“I think part of reason that the case is moving along quickly is because Judge Cleland is known to be a very good case manager,” Matt McClenahan, a criminal defense attorney in Centre County, said. “He’s going to keep the parties moving. He’s not going to allow a lot of delays.”
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan seems to be keen on moving the trial along quickly too. He called Victim No. 4 to the stand first thing Monday afternoon and we have heard from four more in the days since.
“I think in a case like this where you have numerous victims of child sexual abuse, you have to put them on first and then you put on the witnesses who will corroborate their testimony,” McClenahan said.
That’s where Mike McQueary comes in. The star witness for the prosecution took the stand during day two. McClenahan says McQueary was key in corroborating the victim’s testimony because he’s a neutral witness with nothing to gain from his testimony.
“What the defense’s strategy would be in a normal case would be to take a plea agreement,” he said. “Unfortunately, they couldn’t here because the public outcry was so great.”
McClenahan says Jerry Sandusky couldn’t take a plea deal because anything offered would have essentially been a life sentence.
That’s why he expects defense attorney Joe Amendola to focus on attacking the victims’ credibility and highlighting their potential financial gain as the trial moves forward.
“The first one came forward, made up allegations and then the other complainants heard about the first alleged victim and then they all wanted to jump on the gravy train – that’s gonna have to be the defense’s approach to this.”