BELLEFONTE — Deputy Attorney General Joe McGettigan blasted a conspiracy theory presented by the defense attorney before him as closing arguments played out Thursday in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial.
“The great thing about conspiracy theories is that they carry no weight, you just let them go on and on until they collapse under their own weight and that’s what we have here, ” McGettigan told jurors. “It requires everyone to be fooled or corrupt.”
Amendola insinuated in his closing argument earlier in the morning that police pushed victims to make up abuse, that alleged victims were out for money and that investigators were just out to convict a powerful man however they could. McGettigan attempted to counter all of that while summarizing the case against Sandusky for the jury.
“I feel like I have the pieces of 10 souls in my pocket, pieces of childhoods ravaged, boys memories are destroyed,” said McGettigan about prosecuting this case. “I can’t give them back portions large or small of their souls, neither can you. It can’t be done. But what you can do, should do and must do is what the evidence calls for. Give them the justice he really deserves, find him guilty of everything.”
McGettigan told jurors if they believe Amendola and think that this whole investigation and trial are really a conspiracy, that means alleged victims, police, prosecutors, parents, children and youth investigators and many others all had to be working together to cook up a story to convict Sandusky.
“If you believe this is a conspiracy, bring in the handcuffs and bring us all along,” said McGettigan.
He showed on the screen a list of what he said a defendant does when there is overwhelming evidence.
- Admits what you must (Sandusky said he did shower with boys)
- Deny what you can (Sandusky said he didn’t abuse them)
- Call everyone a liar (Defense says victims are making up the abuse)
- Make counter charges (Defense says victims are out for money)
- Allege a conspiracy (The Defense’s case in closing arguments)
McGettigan went on to pick apart the many claims Amendola made during closing arguments to support that conspiracy claim.
“This case is about him and what he did to them. It’s not about conspiracies. It’s not about seeking fame and fortune,” began as he addressed the claims that victims are out for money.
He pointed out to the jurors how difficult it appeared for victims to testify. He told them to imagine having to be on the stand telling such graphic details of what happened to them. He reminded them of the victims that cried on the stand. He pointed out one of them who recently served in the Iraq war and then sat here and told jurors about being abused as a child.
“It’s been buried, not dead,” said McGettigan about the abuse. “It was uncovered over the course of the testimony you heard”
McGettigan said he felt cruel about the job he had to do calling those victims to the stand.
“They knew they were going to be called liars, they knew they were going to be called money grubbers,” said McGettigan. “I told them what was going to happen. I hope they forgive me.”
Then the lead prosecutor on the case addressed Mike McQueary. The defense tried to draw into doubt what he saw and told jurors. McQueary testified last week about walking in on Sandusky raping a boy in the Lasch Football Building showers.
“The conspiracy has cost him his job,” he said in regards to Amendola calling McQueary part of the conspiracy. “He’ll probably have a difficult time ever doing again what he loved to do, coach.”
“He stood up to criticism, hasn’t revised history,” McGettigan said about McQueary telling his story despite all kinds of criticism that he didn’t do enough when he saw the alleged assault.
McGettigan also addressed Sandusky’s interview with NBC’s Bob Costas. He said his answers there were practically an admission of the crime.
“I would think that the automatic response if someone asks you if are a criminal, a pedophile, a child molester it would be, ‘no are you nuts!'” McGettigan said regarding Sandusky’s slow response to a question asking if he was sexually attracted to boys.
“You saw a serial predatory pedophile, gliding through the perfect victim pool to get the most vulnerable, most in need of a father figure,” said McGettigan. “It resulted in these kids being raped, oral raped and abused.”