(CBS/AP) BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Despite his repeated efforts to delay it, Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation trial got under way Tuesday with the start of jury selection, as prosecutors and his defense lawyers choose 12 people from the area around Penn State to decide his guilt or innocence.
Sandusky’s lawyer and the 68-year-old, who gained fame as defensive coordinator for the university’s vaunted football team, where he won two national championships, made no comments as they exited their vehicle outside the courthouse.
Frank Fina, one of the senior prosecutors, was asked if he was ready for the trial and said: “I hope so.”
Opening statements are likely to be made Monday, but first the jurors have to be chosen, a process that could pose a monumental challenge in a region thick with Penn State alumni, employees and football fans.
More than 200 prospective jurors have been instructed by the judge and will be taken, in groups of 40, to the next phase of selection for questions and answers.
Judge John Cleland told the potential jurors they would not be sequestered, saying he trusted them to not pay attention to news reports or social media posts about the case, according to a pool report distributed among media outlets.
“I am going to trust you to make that judgment, and I’m sure that judgment will not be misplaced,” Cleland said.
Sandusky sat slightly hunched in his chair as Cleland addressed the potential jurors, looking down when the judge mentioned the charges against him.