Sandusky Waives Right to Hearing

Surprise move cuts off testimony from accusers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2011 7:57 AM CST
Jerry Sandusky Waives Right to Hearing
Jerry Sandusky arrives with his wife, Dottie Sandusky, for a preliminary hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., where he will face his accusers, Dec. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Newser) – Jerry Sandusky arrived in court today, for what was expected to be a lengthy pretrial hearing featuring testimony from many of his accusers. Instead, Sandusky surprised the court by waiving his right to the hearing, allowing the sexual abuse case to move straight to trial. On the way out of court, Sandusky said he was waiting for "the opportunity to present our side." His lawyer added, "And we couldn't do that today."

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Deputy Attorney General Mark Costanzo said that prosecutors had 11 witnesses ready to testify. He called Sandusky's decision "surprising" and said it would "help the prosecution in a lot of ways." (Pretrial hearings are often useful for the defense because they offer a preview of the prosecution's case.) He also confirmed that there had been no discussions with Sandusky regarding a plea deal. The AP notes that Sandusky's decision is one often made in Pennsylvania: At such hearings, prosecutors must show that they have probable cause to bring the case to trial. Prosecutors in this case were expected to meet that relatively low bar, in part because the case has been through a grand jury. (Read more Jerry Sandusky stories.)

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