Joe Amendola, the lawyer for former Penn State assistant coach and accused child rapist Jerry Sandusky, has made what many consider to be some pretty grave missteps in the defense of his client.
The biggest — and most mind-blogging — was letting Sandusky give an interview to Bob Costas on NBC. Amendola’s strategy was simple: allow the awkward Sandusky to bumble his way through an interview on national television, and hope it would humanize him as some sort of slightly-creepy, but ultimately harmless grandfather. Instead, the much-talked about interview turned into some sort of freak show spectacle, with his client as the main attraction.
Then, yesterday, Amendola waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing. This was actually a smart move, because yesterday’s hearing would’ve resulted in a parade of accusers outlining the terrible things that Sandusky is alleged to have done to them, thus burying him even more in the public’s eyes. By waiving his client’s right to the hearing, Amendola avoided that.
But, instead of quitting while he was ahead, he held a press conference outside of the courthouse and talked to anyone who would listen for three hours. During that presser, he urged anyone who believed some of the damning grand jury testimony against his client to dial “1-800-Reality.” The only problem? 1-800-Reality is a gay sex hotline.
Amendola continued his whirlwind media tour this morning on the Today Show, where the perennially-nice Ann Curry asked him, point blank, if he was competent. If it’s gotten to the point where Ann Curry is asking you if you’re mentally capable of doing your job, you are indeed trying to climb the legal equivalent of Mount Everest.
The interview is here, via NBC.