The defense is set to take their turn at the child sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky, but at least one question remains: will Sandusky himself testify?
A wooden chair enclosed in a small box at the Centre County courthouse may hold the weight of the entire trial.
So far, the only time the public has heard Sandusky speak was during an interview with Bob Costas on NBC’s Rock Center. When Costas asked Sandusky if he is completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect, Sandusky responded, “Well, I could say that I have done some of those things.”
It was an interview with straightforward questions. In turn, Sandusky gave answers with long pauses, which many described as awkward.
Sandusky gave a one-on-one interview with the Washington Post. Then, on a chilly morning outside the Centre County courthouse after a pre-trial hearing, the former Penn State defensive coordinator gave a football analogy:
“We’re going to stay the course and fight for four quarters,” he said.
During opening statements last week, defense attorney Joe Amendola told jurors they would hear Sandusky in his own words. One could assume that meant he would testify when given the opportunity.
“In my opinion, his only chance of winning will be for him to personally convince the jury he did not do it,” Abom said.
Dauphin County Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo calls it a risky move. He said having a defendant vulnerable on the stand is a prosecutor’s dream.
“That’s something every prosecutor wants, to actually confront the defendant,” Chardo said. “I’m sure in this case, Joe McGettigan is looking forward to the cross-examination.”
Abom agreed that is a possibility, but in a “he said, she said” case, he said hearing from the accused and supporters is the best defense strategy.
“I would expect the defense to put forth evidence of Jerry Sandusky’s good deeds, good character, people who know him in the community to say nice things about him,” Abom said, “and then add his own testimony with that and it may be enough to create doubt so that the jury could find him not guilty.”
Abom said it is customary for defense teams to file motions for acquittal on some or all of the charges. He expects Amendola will do so next week.