Friday, December 16, 2011

It's McQueary Time

I'm just back from the Dauphin County municipal building where I had to get my press credentials for today's preliminary hearing of ex-Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz on perjury charges.

I drove over to Harrisburg last night to make sure I got a seat.

Talked to Jim Koval, head of communications for the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts. He and his team were on duty at 5 a.m. Koval said they all started work at 4 a.m for the Sandusky hearing in Bellefonte, only to have the hearing waived by Sandusky's lawyer.

Everyone is anticipating the appearance of star witnesses Penn State Assistant Football Coach Mike McQueary, the man who, according to the grand jury, was an eye-witness to Jerry Sandusky annally raping a boy in a Penn State shower room.

Koval told me a few minutes ago that it's conceivable that prosecutors won't put him, or any other witnesses, on. That they'll just present the grand jury report and hope District Justice Bill Wenner, holds Curley and Schultz for trial.

I predict that If Wenner goes for that, there'll be a media riot in the courtroom, 'cause I'll be leading it. (Jus' kidding.)

McQueary is, essentially, the prosecutors' whole case. If he doesn't testify, there is no case. Wenner would have to bend over backwards to allow the Attorney General's office to get away with that. You can bet, the defense attorneys would go berserk.

Not expected to testify is Joe Paterno. I have it on good authority that because of his bad health and by agreement between the parties, his grand jury testimony could be admitted into the record.

But not McQueary's. Defense attorneys will strenuously object to the case going forward if the state doesn't require him to take the stand and make his accusations against Curley and Schultz in open court. Testimony to the grand jury was done in secret, behind closed doors and out of public view. Thanks to Wednesday's waiving in Bellefonte, this will be the first time any of the accusations in the Sandusky case will be tested at a public court proceeding.

They're expecting some 180 members of the press to show up for today's show.

Contrary to what you've read and what's been advertised, I'm sorry to say I won't be live-blogging the hearing. They aren't allowing that. But I'll post what I can as soon as it's over. Today's print column on this subject, is up but mostly it's a cleaned-up and extended version of Wednesday's blog post.

In the meantime, I found a web-site that's been following the case. It's called "Laschout" - after the name of the athletic building where McQueary allegedly witnessed this alleged rape.

There days ago, the site published this...
Fast forward now to Sunday. The Patriot News reported that after witnessing the incident in the Lasch building, McQueary went to his father’s home and actually spoke with family friend, Dr. Jonathan Dranov. Dranov was reportedly the first person McQueary told his account to, and to say it differs drastically from what he allegedly told the grand jury he witnessed would be an understatement.

According to the Patriot News, Dranov testified before the grand jury that McQueary told him he “heard “sex sounds” and the shower running, and a young boy stuck his head around the corner of the shower stall, peering at McQueary as an adult arm reached around his waist and pulled him back out of view. Seconds later, Sandusky left the shower in a towel.”

Furthermore, and more importantly, Dranov testified “he asked McQueary three times if he saw anything sexual, and three times McQueary said no.”

This testimony obviously raises a ton of questions for all parties involved.
I'll say it does.

If (when) McQueary does take the stand this morning, defense attorney will not be able to raise questions about his credibility. That's not allowed at a preliminary hearing. They will nail down what he says he saw that night. And what he told others later. If that conflicts with his grand jury testimony, the prosecution's case against Curley and Schultz could be mortally wounded.

Neither Schultz nor Curley will testify today. All the state has to do this morning is present enough evidence to hold the case over trial. That's a pretty low bar. But here you have two people saying one thing and one person saying another about what he told them he witnessed that night. The grand jury, for some reason, believed McQueary over Curley and Schultz. We probably won't find out why at this hearing, if ever.

Serious questions have been raised by other witnesses and McQueary himself about his own veracity. Maybe none of that will get tested until there's a trial. If there is a trial.

More later.

UPDATE: Maybe I'll be able to blog this afterall. I'm in the courtroom and this seems to be working. I'll blog until it's over or my battery dies.


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