Closed-door meetings documented in transcripts released Friday in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial reveal that Sandusky’s defense attorneys sought a mistrial and tried to remove themselves as attorneys.
One of Sandusky’s defense attorneys Karl Rominger asked the judge for a mistrial initially because the prosecution showed the jury photos in their opening statements of the people referred to as “Victims.” Rominger equated it to “showing the gun during an opening statement,” according to the transcript.
A mistrial is a trial that is stopped before its normal conclusion for a myriad of reasons.
Rominger argued the photos were prejudicial, and wanted — if the court were to not grant a mistrial — a corrective statement read to the jury saying the photos should not sway their judgement, according to the transcript.
Senior Judge John Cleland denied them a mistrial, according to the transcript.
Rominger also asked for a mistrial in reference to lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan’s opening remarks, when he pointed to one of Sandusky’s defense attorneys Joe Amendola and said he was with Sandusky when Sandusky was interviewed by Centre County Child Youth Services, according to the transcript.
Rominger said Sandusky’s right to counsel should not be held against him, according to the transcript.
Rominger argued for another mistrial, saying that the prosecution said in its opening statements that there is overwhelming evidence stacked against Sandusky, according to the transcript. Cleland also denied this request.
The transcript also shows Amendola and Rominger wanting to file to withdraw counsel and quit the case before the trial had started, according to the transcript.
Amendola said that his staff was still copying materials and reviewing documents.
“I feel that we’re duty-bound ethically to tell the court we’re not prepared to go to trial at this time,” Amendola said, according to the transcript. “We could be in certain time frames down the road but not at this time.”
Amendola also said the availability of Jerry Sandusky’s wife Dottie Sandusky, a key witness, also played a factor in why they wanted to be removed as attorneys.
Cleland said the trial would proceed as scheduled.
Also discussed in a closed-door meeting was Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky’s adopted son who told the Office of the Attorney General that he was abused as a child by his adoptive father. The attorneys discussed how his potential testimony would affect the defense’s case, according to the transcript.
“Mr. Sandusky had always wanted to testify on his own behalf,” Amendola said, according to the transcript. “He always wanted to tell people his side to the allegations in this case. However, that potential evidence, whether true or not, was so devastating.”
Amendola also said that the potential of Matt Sandusky testifying took the heart out of the defense’s argument, according to the transcript.
Cleland then denied Amendola’s request for a mistrial because of “extreme prejudice” relating to issues that occurred after the beginning of the trial that the defense did not have time to address, according to the transcript.
Amendola wrote in an email that because the trial transcripts are public, he had no problem with them being released.
Rominger did not comment by press time Sunday.
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sex abuse.