Sunday, June 24, 2012

Juror: Sandusky's lack of emotion was 'confirmation'

In an exclusive interview, juror Joshua Harper tells TODAY's Lester Holt that the decision to convict Jerry Sandusky hinged on the credibility of his accusers and the testimony of independent witnesses.

By NBC News and staff

A juror in the Jerry Sandusky trial said Saturday that the look on the former?Penn State football coach's face as the guilty verdicts were announced was "confirmation" that they had made the right decision.

Joshua Harper told TODAY that?Sandusky had shown "no real emotion, just kind of accepting because he knew it was true," he added.

Sandusky, 68, was convicted Friday of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and faces a minimum sentence of 60 years in prison, NBC News reported.

The former longtime defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team had denied all 48 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years.

Investigations will continue in the Sandusky case related to how Penn State handled the case, and some officials are facing perjury charges. NBC's Michael Isikoff, Ron Allen, and Legal Analyst Wes Oliver join MSNBC's Ed Schultz to discuss the details of the case as well as community reaction to the verdict.

Two grand jury reports accused him of having used his connection to one of the nation's premier college football programs to "groom" the boys, whom he met through his Second Mile charity for troubled children.

Harper told TODAY that the jurors?"were on the same page" when they began their deliberations and had focused on "the facts and determining credibility."

MSNBC's Ed Schultz talks with Jeff Herman, an attorney who specializes in representing sexual abuse victims, about the difficulties the victims in the Sandusky case would have had in stepping forward with allegations.

He said the men who testified that they were abused appeared to be telling the truth.

"I think there were a couple that I felt [were] very credible. I mean, it's hard to judge character on the stand, because?you don't know these kids, but most were very credible, I would say all," Harper told TODAY.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola speaks outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., after his client, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty of sexually abusing children.

He added that the fact that they all told similar stories about Sandusky was "very convincing."

Harper said they had not convicted Sandusky of rape over the incident witnessed by former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary -- who said he had "no doubt" that Sandusky engaged in anal sex with a boy in a Penn State shower -- because McQueary "did not see any actual penetration."

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"We did not have the evidence that that very?first charge happened," Harper said. "We were in agreement ...?that we could not convict him of that first count."

Sandusky was acquitted on two other counts as well -- one an indecent assault charge involving "Victim 6". The man testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just "blacked out."

The other acquittal was an indecent assault charge related to "Victim 5", who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower.

The jury had worked "very well" together,?he added, discussing misgivings about some parts of the case and discussing "inconsistencies." "We were patient," he said.

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