Jerry Sandusky’s former lawyer was heated when asked about his relationship with the media.
“We wanted to get Jerry’s message out,” Joseph Amendola told his former client’s appeals attorney Al Lindsay in Centre County court on Friday. Lindsay recalled Amendola in front of the new judge in the case, President Judge John Foradora, of Jefferson County.
Sandusky’s Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition seeking a new trial hinges in part of the idea that Amendola provided inadequate counsel during the former Penn State football defensive coordinator’s child sex abuse case.
Lindsay used the infamous interview with Bob Costas on NBC as an example. Amendola did not appreciate it.
He vehemently denied Lindsay’s questions about the last minute addition of Sandusky to the November 2011 interview that was only supposed to involve Amendola.
“I did not serve up Jerry Sandusky ... That’s outrageous! I made him available after speaking with him,” he said. “Everywhere I went, everyone was already convinced Jerry was guilty as heck.”
Sandusky paused and repeated the question when Costas asked “are you sexually attracted to young boys?”
Amendola called the exchange “the magic pause” and insisted the remainder of the interview “wasn’t bad.”
“Jerry, although he had some apprehensions, agreed to that,” he said.
Amendola denied not preparing Sandusky adequately for the interview, saying it should not have been damaging and calling it a “no-brainer.”
Lindsay pointed to agreements that the Costas interview was to be the first televised with Amendola, something that went wrong when CNN aired one earlier than intended. He suggested NBC was unhappy with that and that Sandusky was offered as an appeasement.
“Did you happen to tell Mr. Sandusky that this would make (producer) Kim Kaplan and NBC happy if he did this interview?” he asked.
“Why would I do that when it had no bearing?” Amendola said.
“Well, you said you were trying to curry friends in the media,” Lindsay responded.
He also questioned the fact that Amendola had a party for members of the media at his house two days before Sandusky’s preliminary hearing.
Amendola confirmed the event, saying it included about 10 people from outlets like CNN, Fox and NBC.
“I wanted to get our side out,” he said. “If you think I wanted to have a party on a Sunday night during football season when I was glued to the tube, except for Jerry’s case, you’re wrong.”
Amendola did go along with Lindsay’s assessment of inadequate time to prepare for the trial.
“We ran out of time,” he said. “Four and a half months from first discovery to trial.”
Amendola contrasted that with the trial of former Penn State president Graham Spanier happening in Harrisburg and the recent pleas by former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, which took five years to reach court.
“We asked for continuance after continuance and didn’t get one,” he said. “When have you ever not gotten one continuance?”