At the end of his closing argument, Joe McGettigan, the lead prosecutor in the Jerry Sandusky case, walked inches behind Sandusky and looked at the jury. Sitting, Sandusky turned his swivel chair and looked up. “You know he did this,” McGettigan told the jury. “He knows he did this. Now give [the alleged victims] their justice. And give him the justice he deserves.”
The justice that Joe Amendola thinks his client, Sandusky, deserves is to be free from a vast conspiracy that snowballed after authorities repeatedly asked one person if Sandusky had molested him. How could an iconic, revered football coach, who works 17-hour days, have the time to commit all of these acts? “It’s common sense,” Amendola said. “He couldn’t.”
After closing arguments, Judge Cleland reminded the jury that they were not to act as a moral compass. “You do not sit here the moral conscience. It’s not for you to decide whether Mr. Sandusky is a good or a bad person,” Cleland told them, emphasizing that their responsibility was a legal one. Showering with children, washing children, cracking a child’s back are not crimes, he told them. Amendola reiterated that argument.
“Maybe you and I don’t do it, maybe we find it strange, but the judge told you that’s not a crime,” Amendola said. Troubled kids—abandoned by their fathers, and from poor, broken homes—were easily manipulated by money-hungry civil attorneys, Amendola said. “These kids have problems. These kids have issues.” McGettigan countered that the alleged victims’ issues were a result of Sandusky’s abuse.
McGettigan defended Mike McQueary’s credibility. “He went to the go-to guy, Joe Paterno,” McGettigan said.
Amendola questioned why McQueary, if he is to be believed, didn’t go to directly to the police.
“Mike McQueary grew up in State College. He went to Penn State. He was a quarterback. Can you imagine anything else more great to grow up here, be a quarterback and then come back to coach?” McGettigan said.
Amendola said that if his client is found guilty, Sandusky should “rot in jail.” His defense to the jury was that the charges snowballed after authorities routinely questioned the same alleged victim, then told the alleged victim that others were making charges.
McGettigan disagreed. “If you conclude there’s a conspiracy, then someone bring in handcuffs for me … and lock us all up,” he said.
“When I asked [Dottie Sandusky] why would Mike McQueary lie, she didn’t even answer,” McGettigan said, his voice barely louder than a whisper, his back turned to Sandusky. Sitting in the front row of the courthouse, Dottie Sandusky, dressed in all black, lowered her head and scratched her neck as if to shield her face. Before closing arguments, she walked passed her husband and avoided eye contact, but gave a half smile. Her husband did the same. A friend patted her on the back, and she dabbed her eyes with a tissue. Sitting, they closed their eyes and prayed.
Sandusky himself offered up a prayer. “Jerry asked me to read this,” Amendola told the jury, and then took out a white piece of paper with some of Mother Teresa’s words: ” … What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyways … In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”