Comparing Sandusky Closing Statements: Can Anyone Seriously Argue the Defense Didn't Make the Better Case?
I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but up until recently, I had never read the closing arguments in the case of Jerry Sandusky. I have to say I am totally shocked by many aspects of what I read in the transcripts and I STRONGLY urge anyone who is remotely curious about this case to at least take a look at them (the defense begins on page 37 and the prosecution on page 97).
Here is the link:
Here are the highlights in my view:
Defense attorney Joe Amendola, who is unfairly maligned by many, does a very good (if still imperfect) job.
Prosecutor Joe McGettigan, a media darling, actually does a shockingly poor job both stylistically as well as from a factual standpoint.
The defense talks far more about the evidence than the prosecution and actually tells a story which makes far more sense.
McGettigan spends most of his time mocking the concept of a conspiracy, which is bizarre not just because Amendola doesn't allege one (nor is one needed for Sandusky to have been not guilty), but because McGettigan and fellow prosecutor Frank Fina have been outspoken about the alleged "conspiracy of silence" by Penn State in this case, for which there is no narrative which makes even remote sense.
Ironically, McGettigan at one point admonishes the jury to not think that Penn State is on trial in the case because they were not responsible for the crimes of Sandusky!
McGettigan also blatantly contradicts the statement which we now know Frank Fina made to the grand jury judge in April in 2011 when he said that showering with boys was not a big enough deal to warrant Penn State acting so swiftly. He spends much of his closing talking about how horrible that entire concept is.
McGettigan also appears to break the law (incredibly without objection) when he seems to clearly make an issue out of the fact that Sandusky did not testify.
In short, I think it would make for a fascinating study to have people read each closing argument with the names redacted and determine which side they think "won." I think the results would be stunning.
In my view, the prosecution got crushed in this comparison. After reading these two closings back to back, I think you will conclude, as I did, that that the jury in this case really did not have a truly open mind and felt that it was their civic duty to convict Sandusky.