Former Penn State coach maintains innocence; arraignment set for January
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — In a surprise move, the man at the center of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal waived his right to a pre-trial hearing Tuesday.
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach charged with more than 50 counts of sexual abuse dating back more than a decade waived his right to the hearing and pleaded not-guilty.
The decision stunned a packed Pennsylvania courthouse.
Sandusky's lawyer says he made the decision to waive the right to avoid the media attention the day of testimony would have created, but after the hearing defense attorney Joe Amendola held court outside, talking for more than an hour about how he plans to prove his client's innocence.
Amendola says they thought Sandusky would not have the chance to defend himself and they would gain nothing new from the testimony.
"We would not have been able to call any witnesses, we would not have been able to fight in his defense," Amendola said.
Eight of the ten alleged victims listed in the grand jury report were expected to testify along with other witnesses.
The men were expected to provide detailed accounts of the sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky that date back more than a decade.
"The wavier means that the victims in this case, although they were ready to testify will not have to testify at this time," explained Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark Costanzo.
Sandusky is charged with 50 counts of sexual abuse and accused of using the charity he founded, Second Mile, to make contact with the alleged victims.
As he left court the former assistant football coach said he plans to prove his innocence, no matter how long it takes.
"We fully intend to put together the best possible defense we can do," Sandusky said. "You stay the course to fight for four quarters, and we wait the opportunity to present our side."
Sandusky's arraignment is set for January 11th.
Sandusky is not required to appear at the arraignment.
His bail still stands and he remains under house arrest.