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Official: Sandusky jury has reached verdict

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – The jury in Jerry Sandusky’s child
sex abuse trial has
reached a verdict, and the panel was expected to announce
it Friday evening.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football
coach is fighting 48
counts that accuse him of abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
He could spend the rest
of his life in prison if convicted of all counts.

The jury was expected to announce the verdict
sometime after 9:45 p.m.

The courtroom will be closed by the time the jury and
attorneys assemble for
the verdict, and no one will be allowed to leave until
court is adjourned, the
judge said in a court order. The verdict will be read
count by count. Media are
barred from transmitting any results of the verdict until
adjournment, with the
judge promising sanctions for any reporter or media
organization violating his
order.

Earlier in the evening, Sandusky’s lawyer said he would
be shocked and “die of
a heart attack” if the former Penn State assistant
football coach were
acquitted on all counts in his child sex abuse trial.

The candid remarks by Joe Amendola lasted about 15
minutes inside the courtroom
and opened a wide window into Sandusky’s state of mind as
he and his wife,
Dottie, waited for a verdict.

Jurors began deliberating the case Thursday and
talked all day Friday.

Amendola said the Sanduskys were spending a lot of time
praying. He described
the atmosphere at their home as like a funeral.

The couple was “crushed” Thursday when lawyers for one
of their sons, Matt
Sandusky, said the 33-year-old had been prepared to
testify on behalf of
prosecutors, Amendola said. Matt Sandusky said his father
abused him, his
attorneys said.

Amendola said he wasn’t surprised by another man, Travis
Weaver, who claimed
during an NBC interview Thursday that he was abused by
Sandusky more than 100
times in the early 1990s, or by any others who might come
forward.

“Money does a lot of bad things to people,” he
said.

As for Sandusky and his family, Amendola said he has
given them an objective
appraisal of what they could expect.

“I’ve used the best example I could use: climbing Mount
Everest from the
bottom of the mountain,” he said. “It’s a daunting,
daunting case.”

He also said that Sandusky had his wife talk to a
criminal defense lawyer a
couple months ago “just to be careful.”

Amendola’s interview ended when he was summoned into the
chambers of Judge John
Cleland, who presided over the two-week trial. Cleland has
issued a gag order
barring lawyers from discussing the case.

The verdict will impact not only Sandusky and the eight
young men who accused
him of molestation, but a range of civil and criminal
probes of the scandal that
shamed the university and brought down coach Joe Paterno.

The jury’s apparent focus on the charges involving an
unknown boy called Victim
2 in court papers renewed attention on the separate
criminal case against two
former school officials.

Tim Curley, who temporarily stepped down as athletic
director, and now-retired
vice president Gary Schultz are charged with lying to a
grand jury about what
they knew of the 2001 assault that then-graduate assistant
Mike McQueary said he
witnessed.

Jurors took copious notes and appeared to pay close
attention Friday as
McQueary’s two-hour testimony was read back to them.
McQueary, who said he
walked in on the assault, testified that he did not see
penetration, but he did
see a boy pressed up against a wall in the football team
shower with Sandusky
behind him.

Jurors also reheard the testimony of a McQueary family
friend, Dr. Jonathan
Dranov, who said that McQueary told him a different
version of the story that
didn’t include sexual contact.

McQueary, however, also testified that he hadn’t told
Dranov everything that he
saw.

The jury also sought details from the judge on charges
connected to a boy known
in court records as Victim 8. Cleland told the jurors in a
brief courtroom
meeting that they must be satisfied that there is other
evidence that abuse
occurred, not just statements from a janitor who relayed a
co-worker’s account.

On Friday, a judge in Harrisburg scheduled a July 11
status conference with
lawyers for Curley and Schultz, who are also charged with
failing to properly
report suspected child abuse to authorities. They are
fighting the charges and
await trial.

Philadelphia attorney Fortunato Perri Jr., who has been
following the Sandusky
trial, said an acquittal of Sandusky on the counts
involving Victim 2 could
provide a road map for the defense of Curley and Schultz.

“You’ve now had a jury kind of preview your case with
respect to the
credibility of McQueary,” Perri said. “Who knows if the
next jury would
believe him or not believe him? But you’ve got to feel
pretty good if you’re
representing those two guys, and a jury has taken a good
long look at McQueary’s
testimony and decided something didn’t smell right about
it.”

Bruce Antkowiak, a former federal prosecutor and defense
attorney who now
teaches law at St. Vincent College near Latrobe, said the
Sandusky jury’s
verdict on the charges involving Victim 2 is legally
irrelevant to Curley and
Schultz.

That’s because, Antkowiak said, they are charged with
violating a legal duty to
properly report the allegation that Sandusky abused the
boy _ regardless of
whether it was later proven.

“The underlying truth of what was going on in that
shower doesn’t affect their
underlying obligation to report the initial allegation,”
Antkowiak said.

Defense lawyers for Curley and Schultz did not
immediately respond to a request
for comment Friday.

Sandusky has repeatedly denied the allegations against
him. The defense
portrayed him as the hapless victim of a conspiracy to
convict him of heinous
crimes. They explain the 48 charges against him as the
result of an
investigatory team out for blood and accusers who
willingly played along in
hopes of securing a big payday.

Even if he’s acquitted, Sandusky could face additional
criminal charges
involving accusers who came forward after his November
arrest.

The attorney general’s office has said repeatedly that it
has an “active and
ongoing” investigation of Sandusky, while federal
prosecutors in Harrisburg
issued a wide-ranging subpoena in February for university
computer records and
other information.

Civil lawsuits also are likely against Sandusky, his
Second Mile charity and
Penn State.