The legal team for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky argued Tuesday that he didn’t receive a fair trial because of an ‘adverse comment’ by the lead prosecutor in his closing statement, among other things.
Attorneys for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky are asking a Pennsylvania court for a retrial, saying their client did not receive a fair trial because of alleged errors made in the courtroom and a burdensome workload they say did not allow them an adequate amount of time to prepare.
The hearing on the matter took place Tuesday afternoon before a three-judge panel at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
In October 2012, Mr. Sandusky was sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in prison based on 45 counts of molesting 10 boys while he was an assistant football coach at Penn State. He continues to say he is innocent.
Sandusky’s legal team wants to persuade the state appeals court that a new trial is needed because of an “adverse comment” made by lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan in his closing statement regarding Sandusky’s decision to not testify. In the lawyers’ court filing, they say the comment undermined their client’s right to not incriminate himself, and they added that the comment – suggesting Sandusky was more interested in conducting television interviews than in testifying under oath – created prejudice among the jurors.
The defense argument is “potentially troubling” for the prosecution, says Richard Frankel, a law professor at Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law in Philadelphia.
“It’s very common for defendants to not testify because it will open themselves to any questions in the cross-examination,” he says. It may be hard to know if jurors were aware of the Sandusky television interviews, but even if they were not, “it’s hard not to take into account” Mr. McGettigan’s comments.