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Most people thought that the last time we’d ever see Jerry Sandusky outside of a jail cell was in the immediate moments after his conviction. As a handcuffed Sandusky walked to a police car, ducked down, and slipped inside the back of the cruiser, he vanished from fresh air, forever banished to a jail cell. But unfortunately for Penn State Sandusky just doesn’t disappear. He’s a key witness in the upcoming perjury trials against former vice president Gary Shultz and former athletic director Tim Curley. Both of these men have been charged with perjury for providing false information to the grand jury. In light of the emails uncovered by CNN these charges could grow to include conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and additional counts of perjury.
So who is likely to be the key witness to determine exactly what happened in the cover-up?
You guessed it, Jerry Sandusky.
Yes, Sandusky will be back in the courtroom only this time he’ll be a key witness for either the state of Pennsylvania or Curley and Schultz. Amazingly, Sandusky holds the fate of both men — as well as Joe Paterno’s legacy — in his felon hands.
That’s because Sandusky may be the only individual who will testify about what happened back in 2001, who said what to whom and when?
We know what Curley and Schultz’s defenses will be, they’ve already testified at a preliminary hearing. Both men will assert that Mike McQueary didn’t provide them with detailed knowledge of what he’d witnessed.
In front of the grand jury, Curley testified as follows, “I don’t remember any reports to me that it was sexual in nature.” Schultz agreed with Curley’s recollections.
Mike McQueary will testify that he did, in fact, inform both of these men of the seriousness of the allegations. Joe Paterno’s testimony at the grand jury proceeding will be introduced now that he’s deceased.
We’ll have dueling stories. And Curley and Schultz’s “horseplay” defense is now savaged in light of the recently uncovered emails.
But then what? Who else will be called as a witness?
Former president Graham Spanier will probably be called as a witness. But Spanier may elect not to testify citing his own fifth amendment rights. More likely, there’s the possibility that Spanier could be promised that no charges will be filed against him in exchange for his testimony against Schultz and Curley. (In fact, I expect this is what would have happened if Joe Paterno had lived. The state would have pressured him to testify against his former bosses in exchange for avoiding charges himself.)
So how do we know what happened back in 2001? Well, the emails themselves will be admitted as hearsay exceptions, but who will testify about the details surrounding the emails? Did anyone ever meet with Sandusky, was there mention of the 1998 investigation at this meeting, did either Curley or Schultz confront Sandusky about the specific details of his alleged sexual assault, did Joe Paterno sit down with Sandusky and have a heart-to-heart? All of these details matter since Curley and Schultz’s defense is that they weren’t told of the seriiousness of the allegations.
There’s only one man left alive who would be able to testify to exactly what happened back in 2001’s investigation — Sandusky.
That’s right, Jerry Sandusky, the pedophile of State College, holds the fates of Schultz and Curley, and Paterno’s own reputation in his soiled hands.
Will Sandusky testify?
Given his haphazard legal advice and decision-making, it’s anyone’s guess. But now that he’s facing 422 years in prison, what does he have to lose? Citing his fifth amendment rights gains him nothing, Sandusky’s spending the rest of his life in prison regardless. Plus, this isn’t a trial about his sexual assaults, it’s a trial about what the response to his sexual assaults was. Remember, aside from a disastrous conversation with Bob Costas, Sandusky hasn’t made any public comments about these charges or the details surrounding the allegations.
Would Sandusky like a chance to tell his side of the story? And if he told his side of the story on the witness stand who would benefit, Penn State’s administrators or the state? And this raises the final question, can we believe what he tells us? Would Sandusky lie to protect Paterno and his university? Would he tell the truth and bury them? Would we be able to tell the difference?
Just when you thought Jerry Sandusky would disappear forever, in the wake of these emails, he becomes the linch-pin to deciphering Penn State’s cover-up, the key witness whose story we must hear to know what really happened in State College.
Yep, the monster of Happy Valley is back for a second courtroom act.