Jury in place, Sandusky trial to begin Monday


Jury in place, Sandusky trial to begin Monday

From Comcast SportsNet
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- The attorneys arguing the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky have four days to figure out how to sway a jury heavy with connections to the school. Seven women and five men will hear opening statements Monday in the sweeping case that rocked the university and led to the ouster of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno. Four alternates also were chosen Wednesday after jury selection wrapped up in less than two days, a much brisker pace than some observers had expected given the school's deep roots in this mainly rural part of central Pennsylvania. But Judge John Cleland had insisted from the start that such connections wouldn't immediately rule out potential jurors so long as they could pledge to be impartial. Among the 16 jurors total selected, 10 had some tie -- either directly or indirectly -- to Penn State. One juror, a woman, is a professor who has taught for 24 years. Another woman has had football season tickets for decades. And one of the male jurors is a student who will be a senior this fall. Some legal experts said jurors with school connections might be inclined to come down hard on Sandusky, blaming him for Paterno's firing and the damage to the school's reputation. "From the prosecution's perspective, putting people on the jury with Penn State ties, their assessment might be these people might tend to disfavor Jerry Sandusky and the defense because he's responsible for dragging Penn State's name through the mud," said Chris Capozzi, a defense attorney in Pittsburgh and a former senior deputy attorney general under now-Gov. Tom Corbett. Capozzi, a Penn State graduate, left the attorney general's office in 2010. The state grand jury investigation of Sandusky began while Corbett was attorney general. Conversely, Capozzi said, Sandusky's defense lawyers appear satisfied those jurors can be fair and impartial, or that "people are going to be upset with the Office of the Attorney General and the way (the case) was handled ... and it's really the AG that's responsible for putting Penn State's name through the mud." Sandusky, 68, is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year span. He has denied the allegations. "In one sense, you worry about, this guy was for many years of his life a hero of that community, an idol," said St. Vincent College law professor Bruce Antkowiak, referring to Sandusky's role as founder of an acclaimed charity for youngsters. "On the other hand, there's also the consideration that there are people who believe this guy betrayed so much of what gave this institution and this area so much of the character and innocence that we love that he has besmirched it in such a profound way," Antkowiak added. Other jurors with ties to the school include a man whose father worked at Penn State's Office of Physical Plant for three decades and a woman who works as an administrative assistant at the university. On the list of potential witnesses, along with the young men who have accused Sandusky, are Paterno's widow and son; and assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he saw Sandusky naked in a team shower with a boy more than a decade ago and reported it to Paterno. The head coach testified to relaying the allegation to his superiors, fulfilling his legal obligation. He was ousted in November by school trustees in part for not acting more decisively against Sandusky. Paterno died of lung cancer two months later at 85. On Wednesday, defense attorney Joseph Amendola asked again for a delay after alleging that the judge's gag order was violated by an ABC News report that said the accuser identified in court papers as Victim 4 would be the first witness. Cleland denied the request. The day began with Amendola -- arriving with Sandusky in the morning -- telling reporters he was confident the nine jurors picked as of the start of Wednesday would give them a "fair shake." During a midday break in jury selection, lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan said: "So far, so good." In court, Sandusky quietly leafed through a binder with plastic-covered pages. During another break, he turned to two media representatives and asked with a chuckle, "What did you guys do to deserve me?" and "How did you guys get stuck with this?" Several prospective jurors showed up at the courthouse in clothing with Penn State logos. And the web of Penn State connections was evident again when a group of 40 potential jurors were questioned early Wednesday. Ten indicated they worked at the university. Nineteen indicated they or a close family member had volunteered or contributed financially to Penn State. Fifteen said they knew someone on the prosecution's witness list, while 20 knew someone on Sandusky's defense list. Robert Del Greco, a criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, and member of the Criminal Litigation Section council of the Allegheny County Bar Association, wasn't surprised by the connections to Penn State on the jury. He called the trial the biggest event in Centre County since the Nittany Lions' 1986 national title. What mattered, Del Greco said, was that jurors pledged to be impartial for a trial expected to last about three weeks. "This jury has been seated with breakneck speed. I'm impressed and surprised with the expeditious manner with which it occurred. I think it speaks (favorably) of Cleland and the lawyers involved," Del Greco said. "If that is a harbinger of things to come ... we'll have a verdict within weeks (rather) than months."

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NHL Power Rankings: Where do the Caps stand after taking their first regulation loss?

NHL Power Rankings: Where do the Caps stand after taking their first regulation loss?

After starting the season 3-0-1, the Washington Capitals were handed their first loss on Saturday at the hands of the New York Rangers.

It was a tough way to close out the week, especially considering that the team now has to pack its bags and hit the road for a four-game road trip through Western Canada.

But there's one important thing to remember: Teams lose in the regular season. It happens.


The reaction after a loss like Saturday's is to drop the Caps like a stone in the power rankings, but it's important not to overreact to every game. Just four days before the loss, Washington dominated the Colorado Avalanche and they did it with backup Philipp Grubauer in net.

Here's what we know. In their first five games, the Caps earned seven out of a possible 10 points. As of Monday, the team sits second in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Alex Ovechkin put it best.

"You can't win 82 games in a row," he said following Saturday's loss. "Sometimes you have to lose. It's hard lessons for us."

So who Are the Capitals? Are they the team that squandered a two-goal lead at home against the New York Rangers or the one that thoroughly outplayed the Colorado Avalanche?

Find out just where the Caps stand in this week's NHL Power Rankings.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick critical of organization's trust in him after Jets' win over Ravens

Ryan Fitzpatrick critical of organization's trust in him after Jets' win over Ravens

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the Jets' Week 7 game against the Ravens with an NFL-high 11 interceptions.

He also entered the game with a firm spot on the bench. Fitzpatrick, who was engaged in a tenuous contract debate in the offseason, was benched after the team's ugly 26-3 loss to the Cardinals in Week 6.

But on Sunday, Fitzpatrick came to the rescue after Geno Smith left the game in with a knee injury, immediately driving the ball down the field for a touchdown. 


Fitzpatrick finished 9-of-14 for 120 yards and one touchdown in the Jets' 24-16 win.

But following the game, Fitzpatrick let it be known that his Week 6 performance was because he believed in himself because the organization and coaching staff didn't.

"The biggest thing in this game, in order to last, is to have belief in yourself," Fitzpatrick said, following the win. "Because when the owner stops believing in you, the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. So, that's kind of something I've had to deal with before, something I'm dealing with now."

When asked if he felt like coach Jeff Bowles, general manager Mike Maccagnan and owner Woody Johnson did not believe in him, Fitzpatrick was blunt. "Yeah, when you get put on the bench," he said, "I think that's the reason why."

The Jets, now 2-5, face the winless Browns in Week 8, and with Smith's status still uncertain, so too is Fitzpatrick's place under center.

"I don't know what decision they're going to make or what Geno's health is going to be like," he said. 

"But, yeah, I think I should start every week."