Jury in place, Sandusky trial to begin Monday

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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."

Georgetown falls to St. Johns, 86-80

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Georgetown falls to St. Johns, 86-80

NEW YORK  -- Shamorie Ponds scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting to become the third freshman in St. John's history to score 500 points in a season, and the Red Storm rallied to beat Georgetown 86-80 on Saturday to end a two-game skid.

Bashir Ahmed and Frederico Mussini scored 16 apiece for St. John's (13-16, 7-9 Big East), which was outrebounded 36-29 but scored 25 points off 22 Georgetown turnovers.

Ahmed's 3-pointer put St. John's up by seven, 48-41, early in the second half. Georgetown closed to within a point four times but the Red Storm found answers and led by nine, 76-67, on Amar Alibegovic's dunk with 2:14 left. Georgetown scored six straight and closed to 78-77, then to 82-80 on L.J. Peak's 3-point play with 25 seconds left. Marcus Lovett and Malik Ellison each hit two from the line and St. John's held on.

Mussini scored 11 in a 17-0 St. John's run for a 29-18 lead, but Georgetown rallied with a 17-0 run and led 36-35 at halftime.

Rodney Pryor scored 22 points with five 3-pointers and Peak added 20 for Georgetown (14-15, 5-11), which has lost three straight.

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Game 61: Capitals at Predators date, time, how to watch, game thread

Game 61: Capitals at Predators date, time, how to watch, game thread

The Capitals have a quick turnaround after their Friday night home win over the Oilers as the team heads to Nashville to take on Filip Forsberg, P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators.

Forsberg, as many of you will remember, was the Capitals' first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. The team then traded him to Nashville for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg is now one of the Predators top stars and just recently recorded back-to-back hat tricks.

What: Washington Capitals at Nasahville Predators

Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET. (Capitals GameTime gets things started at 4:30 p.m. ET)

How to Watch: Capitals vs. Predators will be broadcast on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals vs. Predators game on the NBC Sports live stream

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS VS. PREDATORS GAME?

The Capitals (41-12-7) take on the Predators (29-22-9) Saturday, Feb. 25 at 5:00 p.m. ET at Bridgestone Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS VS. PREDATORS GAME ON?

The Capitals vs. Predators game will be broadcast on CSN Mid-Atlantic. Capitals GameTime gets things started at 4:30 p.m. ET with Capitals Extra recapping the all the action following the game.

CAPITALS-PREDATORS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals Digital Producer JJ Regan and the CSN Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and CSN's Facebook page.

Keep up with all the action here with Capitals GameZone and join in on the conversation here with Capitals Pulse.