Moments after the judge called Jerry Sandusky’s scheduled preliminary hearing to order, it ended.
Attorney Joe Amendola, representing former assistant football coach Sandusky, asked Senior District Judge Robert Scott for a sidebar, to inform him that his client decided to waive the preliminary hearing.
Members of the media and the public gasped at the announcement, and Sandusky quickly exited the building, as other members of the media awaiting his departure closed in on him outside.
Sandusky maintained his innocence to them.
Minutes after the hearing had adjourned, a representative from the Attorney General’s office addressed members of the media in the front of the crowded courthouse. Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Marc Costanzo said Sandusky’s bail conditions, including the use of electronic monitoring, remain the same.
Costanzo said 11 witnesses were prepared to testify against Sandusky on Tuesday — adding Mike McQueary would have likely testified. No discussion of a plea bargain with Sandusky has transpired, Costanzo said.
Amendola addressed the media for nearly an hour, saying he notified prosecutors Monday evening that Sandusky was going to waive the hearing.
Some of the attorneys representing witnesses in the case said they heard rumblings of a potential waiver on Monday, but others said they heard nothing until the formal announcement was made in court.
The State College attorney said his client decided to waive the preliminary hearing because it would be similar to a "recitation" of the grand jury presentment, which he said would not help Sandusky’s case.
Amendola added that, based on the rules of a preliminary hearing, he would not be able to address the credibility of the witnesses — namely McQueary, the Penn State wide receivers coach who was put on administrative leave about a week after Sandusky was charged. McQueary is the "cornerstone" of the prosecution’s argument, Amendola said.
McQueary testified during a grand jury investigation that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in a shower in the Lasch Building in 2002, according to a grand jury presentment. Since the presentment was released, McQueary’s testimony has come into question.
Ben Andreozzi, attorney for the individual identified as "Victim 4," said McQueary is not a vital witness in the case. Andreozzi said the evidence for his client is so "strong" that the case could include him as the only witness and Sandusky could still be prosecuted.
While addressing media, Amendola also said a possible motive for the people identified as victims in the grand jury presentment to come forward would be financial benefits. Amendola said many of the boys that came forward have civil attorneys ready to file suit against The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded, and Penn State. He added that he suspected some of the men may have corresponded with each other.
Andreozzi called this claim "frustrating," saying that the only time his client attempted to obtain contact information for the other witnesses, was when he expressed that he wished to apologize to them for not coming forward sooner.
Throughout the morning, Amendola repeatedly maintained Sandusky’s innocence.
The case against Sandusky will now head to trial. A formal arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 11, but Sandusky already waived this.
For coverage of the upcoming preliminary hearings for former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz on Friday, check back at collegian.psu.edu.