Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Very Candid Interview with Jerry Sandusky's Criminal Defence Attorney

Last night on my radio show, Offside, I interviewed Karl Rominger, Jerry Sandusky's criminal defence attorney. To say the least, Rominger was very candid. Frankly, shockingly so. He offered a lot of insight into Sandusky's state of mind, how the case unfolded and what is next. 

Below is a partial transcript of the interview.

Was Jerry Sandusky surprised by the verdict?

He was disappointed. To the very end he held out that things would go his way. Was he upset or surprised by it? He was upset but not surprised. He knew it was an uphill battle given the number of accusers. He is a very intelligent man.

Strictly from the standpoint of making potentially ambiguous statements, are there any regrets over having Sandusky do the interview with Bob Costas?

It was tactically poorly executed but strategically brilliant. Jerry probably could have come across a lot better but he did not and as a result it hurt us. On the other hand if he had come across different it could have helped us.

On the Costas interview being on a loop at trial - was that grounds for a mistrial?

We asked for a mistrial and the court said that it would grant the mistrial but it felt that there was a more effective remedy by explaining to the jury what happened. So the judge told the jury that the tape you heard was not accurate and provided them with a written transcript to take back to the jury room.

Does Sandusky intend to keep fighting?

He does. In fact when I met with him in prison he said he intends to try and vindicate his name. His family is 100% behind him. He has thousands if not ten of thousands of supporters behind him.

Will you be appealing?

Yes. The appeal will have to wait until after he is sentenced, which is 90 days from now.

Why was it decided that Jerry Sandusky was not going to testify?

He wanted to testify. We wanted him to testify. But we felt our case was really strong at the point he was going to testify. The Matt Sandusky tape had come out which mitigated against testifying and that was the chief reason combined with the fact we were doing really well. And the Costas interview hadn’t gone in yet.

Jerry told me yesterday that he wished he had testified.

During the trial did Jerry Sandusky want to testify?

He did.

What was Sandusky disposition like during the trial?

He was cognizant and he was fully participating and understood the kind of event it was. He was a very nice man…he’s a very sharp, kind individual. I don’t think the charges comport with the person you meet.

Did he appreciate the weight of the accusations?

He understood the weight of the charges. He had difficulty with the evidence and I understand why. If you think you are fully innocent it’s hard to believe that people would make all this up about you.

Is Sandusky still under suicide watch?

The idea was to put him under supervision as a precaution. In reality, Jerry is not a suicide risk in any way, shape or form.

Can you describe his state of mind?

He’s tired and worn down - but he’s not broken or beaten.

Did he believe he was innocent?

Sandusky said, “I didn’t do it; I’m innocent”.

Describe the prison where he is being held and will he be transitioned to another prison.

He’s in a very clean and modern county facility. Very impressive. Everyone there is very friendly…it is professionally run. It’s top notch.

That said, the state prison system where he may be moved to eventually is questionable and I will be carefully monitoring him when he is moved there.

As a defence lawyer can you explain why it is so important for people to be afforded a full defence?

A criminal defence attorney has to go forward and argue on behalf of his client as best he can no matter what the nature of the allegations or how unseemly they are. I am proud to do it.

If Jerry Sandusky had said he was guilty but he still want you to represent him would that have tied your hands?

It would tie our hands as far as letting him testify that he didn’t do it - but we could still make the prosecution make its case out beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do you think that Jerry Sandusky is guilty?

My belief is irrelevant. I have to assume he is innocent.

Do you expect to succeed on appeal?

It’s an uphill battle.

Are there any misconceptions about Jerry Sandusky?

Yes. People say he is a monster. Best I can tell is if he is guilty of what he did he has also helped hundreds of thousands of kids.

The point is at the end of the day he deserves some credit for all the good he has done.

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