Amendola testifies in legal challenge over Sandusky case

BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky’s lead trial attorney, Joe Amendola, testified on Thursday in Centre County Court that he didn’t have time to prepare the case, having received more than 12,000 pages of documentation and not enough time to go through them all.

Amendola represented Sandusky in his trial this summer, when he was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison.

Norris Gelman of Philadelphia, Amendola’s attorney, said the lack of preparation forced Amendola into the courtroom blindly, calling it a “structural error” and a violation of Sandusky’s right to counsel.

Thursday’s hearing was scheduled to take up a set of legal challenged filed by Sandusky’s attorneys, including their claim that a deluge of prosecution materials swamped the defense.

The prosecution, led by Frank Fina of the Attorney General’s Office, said he doubts whether Judge John Cleland will determine that Sandusky deserves a new trial.

Attorney Tom Kline, who represented Victim 5 during the trial, spoke at length outside the courthouse after the 90-minute hearing. He said he thought Sandusky looked “gaunt.”

Sandusky was present for the hearing but did not testify. His wife, Dottie, was in the courtroom but the two had no contact.

Fina said he expects Cleland will make a decision within 30 days.

A complete story will appear in Friday’s Mirror.