"It was a golden opportunity."
That is how Joe Amendola, Jerry describes the Bob Costas interview with Jerry Sandusky, the interview where a hesitation in a question about being sexually attracted to young boys became a smoking gun in public opinion.
On Friday, Amendola was on the witness stand as Sandusky's appeals attorney Al Lindsay pursued a Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition. The grounds for that petition? That Amendola provided inadequate counsel.
Sandusky said in his testimony that he found out he would be speaking with Costas about 15 minutes before the interview. Amendola said it was a little longer, about half an hour or so, but the interview was supposed to just be with him, not his client.
So he went to New York. But while there for the show, he said, things changed.
"Everybody, everybody who came up to me was saying 'Your client is guilty as heck,'" he said.
Sandusky, he was told by media experts, was more hated than Adolph Hitler, and the interview was a chance to change that.
"What I said to Jerry was, this was an opportunity for him to tell the world, because I knew there would be millions of watchers, that he was innocent," Amendola testified. "That was the bottom line, that he didn't need to answer other questions."
But Amendola admitted he didn't prepare Sandusky for anything other than repeating his innocence and saying it would be proven at trial.
He also didn't mention that the interview could be used at trial by the prosecution, which it was.
"We used it too," he said, noting that when Sandusky did not testify, the tape became useful to introduce the former Penn State coach and Second Mile founder's statements of his innocence.