BELLEFONTE - The judge who presided over Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial on Wednesday unsealed the transcript of a June post-trial hearing where concerns were raised about evidence not presented at trial being leaked to the news media.
One of the pieces of evidence at issue was an interview with Matt Sandusky concerning the personal abuse he allegedly suffered from his father. Excerpts of the interview were played on NBC's "Today" Show.
Senior Judge John Cleland then issued a "protective order" in which he forbid the disclosure of information not part of the record to anyone "not directly involved in the defense of the defendant's criminal prosecution."
The judge sealed the record of the hearing because it referred to information outside the trial record. One of Sandusky's defense lawyers, Karl Rominger, took issue with a portion of Cleland's June 26 order that ordered the defense to provide, under oath, an inventory of the information it received in the discovery process and to whom it was released.
The inventory would include not only information the defense received from the prosecution but also received through the judge of the grand jury that issued presentments leading to criminal charges against the retired assistant coach.
The grand jury judge, Senior Judge Barry Feudale, also participated in the June hearing.
Rominger appealed the protective order to the state Superior Court and the prosecution, led by Deputy Attorneys General Joseph McGettigan and Frank G. Fina, included the sealed transcript in their answer to Rominger's appeal.
That led to the unsealing of the transcript, which shows concern by the judges and prosecution over information leaks and also repeated denials that any leaks came from the defense side.
One of the most intriguing revelations came from Fina, who admitted there was "additional incriminating information" against Sandusky that was not presented during the trial.
"I can't imagine defense counsel would disagree with me on this - it's not in the interest of Mr. Sandusky to have, you know, additional incriminating information being revealed in public," Fina said.
"I'm talking about incriminating information beyond that which was presented during the trial. There's a great deal of that in the discovery. Evidence that, for a variety of reasons, the commonwealth did not utilize but was highly incriminating of Mr. Sandusky."
Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, was asked Wednesday why information about Sandusky would be withheld.
He pointed out that the investigation into the Sandusky matter is ongoing and that there are the trials two Penn State officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, remaining. They are charged with failing to report an instance of Sandusky abuse in 2001 and perjury.
Prosecutors make decisions on what information should or should not be presented to the jury, Frederiksen said. He emphasized that the prosecution in the Sandusky case obtained 45 convictions of the 48 charges that went to the jury.
The hearing also focused on the Matt Sandusky interview, which was recorded.
Only three copies of the tape were made: One was kept in the Attorney General's Office, a second was in a state police evidence room and a third copy was provided to the defense.
Both Amendola and Rominger denied even knowing what was in the Matt Sandusky recording, the transcript stated.
Amendola said he delivered the disc to Rominger, and Rominger said he still had his Sandusky materials in his car.
"I made no copies of it, and I have no copies of it," Rominger told Cleland.
"The irony is, Your Honor, we have no reason to release that tape to the media to have them play that tape in which apparently he [Matt Sandusky] says that his father committed inappropriate acts with him. I mean that's certainly not in our best interest to reveal that. It makes no sense," Amendola said.
Toward the end of the hearing, Cleland held a "friend-to-friend kind of conversation," stating it wasn't the first time he had to address "press problems," but he said he hoped it would be the last.
Cleland said he was sure that neither he nor Feudale wanted "to be put in the very difficult position of having to take any further action because this has, obviously, serious implications for everybody involved, and, you know, could be a very awkward and difficult position if this were to happen still again," the transcript stated.
Cleland said he didn't mean that as a threat.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.