Former Penn State Coach Sandusky Prepares To Face Accusers for First Time at Hearing

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Published December 13, 2011

| FoxNews.com

For the first time since his arrest on more than 50 counts of child sex abuse charges, Jerry Sandusky will face off against as many as eight people accusing him of sexual assault.

Sandusky, 67, entered the back door of the county courthouse early Tuesday with his wife, Dottie, at his side. He looked straight ahead, emotionless, ignoring questions from reporters. Attorney Joseph Amendola followed him into the courthouse. Roughly 50 members of the media and 10 other visitors awaited Sandusky's arrival.

Sandusky's accusers will describe in graphic detail their allegations against the ex-Penn State football coach. Eleven people, comprised of alleged victims and witnesses, will take the stand to testify against Sandusky at a preliminary hearing in Bellefonte, Pa. 

The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. and may last more than one day, multiple attorneys involved in the case told FoxNews.com. It will end with the district judge deciding whether the charges meet the relatively low standard under Pennsylvania law to advance the case to trial.

As many as eight accusers could testify, multiple sources said. Witnesses could include then-graduate student Mike McQueary. McQueary says he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in the Penn State football building showers.

Each accuser will testify in front of an audience of more than 200 people, including members of the press and general public. Amendola has said about 20 of the ex-coach’s supporters and family members will also be in the courtroom.

Sandusky has said that he is innocent of all charges. His attorney on Monday told Fox News that his client has been falsely accused and could end up being “the victim” in this case, even while conceding that more charges will likely be filed against Sandusky.

Attorneys for accusers known in the grand jury report as Victim One, Four and Six told FoxNews.com their clients would be among those testifying. 

Amendola says he believes the previously unidentified Victim Two would also take the stand. As of late Monday night, it remained unclear which other alleged victims were scheduled to testify at the hearing.

The prosecutors must present probable cause for each set of allegations. This means that each victim must testify, or witnesses must be called in place of each alleged victim, to establish probable cause. 

Sandusky’s attorney will be able to cross examine each accuser or witnesses. Sandusky also has the option to testify, but Amendola told Fox News on Monday that would not happen.

Amendola says he expects to be kept on a short leash during cross examination, and will only be permitted to ask accusers and witnesses questions relating to details of their testimony. He says he expects he will not be given leeway to question their credibility.

Lawyers for the alleged victims told FoxNews.com they expect horrific and emotional testimony against the former gridiron coach.

“I expect graphic testimony from the victims that will be shocking to listeners and devastating to the defense,” Slade McLaughlin, an attorney representing the accuser known as Victim One, told FoxNews.com Monday night. He said his client would be among the first three people to testify on Tuesday.

”I expect tears from the victims along with heart-wrenching testimony about the atrocities that Jerry Sandusky visited on these innocents during their youth.”

In an interview with FoxNews.com Monday afternoon, Amendola said he believes some of the alleged victims may be motivated more by financial interests than telling the truth. 

Amendola suggests they may have conspired against the coach in order to sue The Second Mile,the charity Sandusky founded and allegedly used to target his victims, and the deep-pocketed Penn State University.

“We’re looking very seriously into the possibility that there’s collusion here and that they did so for financial means,” Amendola told Fox News. 

He said he believes several accusers were in contact over the years between when the alleged abuse occurred and when the charges against Sandusky were filed.

However, Ken Suggs, an attorney for alleged Victim Six, told FoxNews.com the accuser has never asked about or mentioned any financial motivation whatsoever since first reporting being molested by Sandusky in 1998 .

He says his client is “a really courageous young man,” who is preparing to take the stand Tuesday morning.

“Surely he’s nervous about this but he’s handling it fine. Last time we talked he was calm and determined to follow through.”

All day Monday attorneys for the alleged victims set up shop in conference rooms at hotels throughout State College, where media outlets from across the U.S. and Canada conducted interviews.

The night before the hearing, lawyers for many of the alleged victims were overheard discussing last-minute wardrobe concerns relating to their clients, such as whether one should shave his beard, whether another's shirt needed to be pressed and which tie should be worn.

Dottie Sandusky spent the evening cooking dinner for her husband, Amendola said.

Attorneys for one alleged victim spent the evening making half a dozen phone calls to various officials trying to figure out how and where to pick up their courtroom credentials, and when and where to bring their client. 

By midnight, they still had received no information on how to attend the hearing from the court.

The court announced Monday it has decided to allow members of the press to Tweet and email updates from inside the courtroom, activities it had previously banned.

The sudden lifting of the ban on phones and Blackberrys sent numerous reporters scrambling to find back up cellphone batteries at the nearest electronics store.

Sandusky was arrested on Nov. 5 on child sex-abuse charges related to eight alleged victims. Sandusky was re-arrested last week on similar charges relating to two new alleged victims.

The scandal that rocked the Pennsylvania region known as “Happy Valley” also claimed the jobs of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and ex-university president Graham Spanier and former athletic director Tim Curley and former administrator Gary Schultz.

A preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz, who are both charged with perjury and failure to comply with mandatory reporting regulations relating to child abuse accusations, is scheduled for Friday in Harrisburg.

FoxNews.com will be live blogging from inside the courtroom throughout the hearing beginning at 8:30 a.m. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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