PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After a week of emotional testimony from the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case, it’s now the defense’s turn to try to explain its side.
The court made a ruling Friday that gives some insight into how Sandusky’s attorney plans to defend his client.
Judge John Cleland ruled that Jerry Sandusky can have an expert testify about a psychiatric condition that his lawyers say could explain his letters to boys as something other than grooming them to molest them.
Jurors will hear about what’s called histrionic personality disorder. In short, he may engage in dramatic or even inappropriate behavior to call attention to himself.
His defense strategy will attract plenty of attention beginning Monday.
Sandusky’s criminal case involves 10 alleged victims. One of them, whose mother alerted university police in 1998, is now a licensed minister.
Another is an Army National Guard sergeant.
But knowing some of the graphic and sometimes emotional testimony the jury just heard from the alleged victims and the way Sandusky communicates, should the jury hear Jerry Sandusky on the stand and his cross examination by the prosecutor?
Former federal prosecutor and now defense attorney J. Alan Johnson has a strong opinion.
Harold Hayes: “Having heard [the interview with Bob Costas], would you put him on?”
Johnson: “Absolutely not. No. But what happens is you can bet that the attorney general is ready for him when he gets on the stand and he’s going to come at him very hard. Very hard.”
But local defense attorney Frank Walker says expect the defense to try to convince the jury that the accusers have a money motive.
“They have attorneys because they have a financial interest in the case,” he said. “They were ready to file a civil suit even before a possible criminal conviction has occurred, so they’re looking past this. They’re already saying, ‘We’re going to get some money out of this,’ so you have to attack that from the beginning.”
It is also likely the jury will hear from Dottie Sandusky, the wife of the accused, who according to two witnesses was nearby during some of the abuse. Her explanations and cross examination could be crucial for the defense.
As part of the judge’s order, Sandusky must make himself available to prosecutors so they can prepare rebuttal testimony to his psychological or psychiatric experts.