Just when it looked like it was ready to start juggling bowling pins and spinning plates while riding a unicycle, Jerry Sandusky's defense team has finally punched back at the prosecution's case. Whether that punch can generate enough reasonable doubt to acquit Sandusky on all 51 counts involving all 10 victims must be determined by the jury. But there's no question this morning's session opened a window of opportunity for the defense. Here's how:
1.) Two of the state troopers who investigated Sandusky gave conflicting answers when asked whether they had discussed their testimony during a break in today's proceedings.
2.) One of those troopers first said under oath he had not informed one of the victims what other victims had told him. But then the defense produced an audio tape in which that trooper can be heard revealing to that victim how many other victims there were, along with some of what those victims had said.
According to Sara Ganim of the Patriot-News of Harrisburg (Pa.), trooper Scott Rossman and retired trooper Joseph Leiter were both called to testify on several occasions this morning:
And when they were called to the stand for the last time, defense attorney Karl Rominger asked them both if they had discussed Leiter's testimony in the courthouse corridors.
Rossman replied that they did not. Leiter, when asked the same question, said they did.
The audio recording was a 16-minute snippet during a break in an interview police had with Victim 4 last year. The police were unaware that the tape was still rolling. But more on that in a bit. Here's Ganim:
Leiter was asked by attorney Joe Amendola if he ever told Victim 4 what other witnesses had said.
"We never told them anything that anyone else had ever told us," Leiter replied.
"Are you certain about that?"
Later, when questioned about telling Victim 4 the number of other accusers, he said, "We never gave a specific number of people, not that I recall."
The tape, however, indicates otherwise. First, Leiter can be heard telling Ben Andreozzi, the attorney for Victim 4, that it wouldn't be unusual for the trooper to tell Victim 4 what the other victims have already said. Then, once Victim 4 returns to the room, this is what Leiter tells him, according to Yahoo's Dan Wetzel, per the recording that was played in court:
"You're not the first," he said. "I've interviewed probably nine kids, nine other adults. And you're doing very well. It is amazing. If this was a book, you'd be repeating word for word what other people told us. And we know from these other young adults who talked to us that there is a pretty well-defined progression that he operated and he still operates to some degree.
"Often this progression goes on into a long period of time leading into more than just touching, there's been actual oral sex that's taken place by both parties and it is classified that an actual rape has occurred. I don't want you to feel that again.
"I don't want you to feel ashamed. You are a victim in this thing. What happened, happened. These types of things happen. We need you to tell us what happened. Again, we're not going to treat you any differently … You are a victim of this crime.
"We need you to tell us as graphically as you can what took place. I just want you to know that you are not alone in this … I just want you to understand you're not alone in this. By no means are you alone in this."
Victim No. 4: "I understand."
At that point, the troopers says he's going to start the recording, obviously unaware it had not been stopped.
Photo via AP.
Jerry Sandusky trial: State police troopers give conflicting testimony about discussions with alleged victims [Patriot-News]
Jerry Sandusky's defense bolstered by tape establishing police led an accuser's statement [Yahoo]