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12-person jury, alternates chosen in Sandusky case

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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and his attorney Joe Amendola enter the Centre County Courthouse as the second day of jury selection begins in his child sex abuse trial on June 6 in Bellefonte, Pa.


Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET: BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Lawyers have selected 12 jurors and alternates to hear the child sex abuse case against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The seven women and five men on the main panel and four alternates were selected Tuesday and Wednesday in a central Pennsylvania courthouse, according to The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.

Sandusky faces 52 counts involving 10 alleged victims over a 15-year span. The 68-year-old Sandusky has denied the allegations.

Sandusky's attorney told jurors seven members of the former coach's family had been on his list of potential witnesses.

The jury's composition reflects the area's strong connection to Penn State. It includes a Penn State senior, a retired professor and a woman who's been a football season ticket holder since the 1970s. The woman’s husband also works for the medical group where the father of a key witness Mike McQueary previously worked.

Sandusky's attorney had moved to strike the woman as a juror, but Judge John Cleland overruled his objection.

"We're in Centre County. We're in rural Pennsylvania," Cleland said. "There are these (connections) that cannot be avoided."

Cleland said that unless ties to witnesses or Sandusky were strong, relationships such as hers would not mean she could not serve on the jury, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Eighteen of 40 potential jurors told the court they are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse due to the nature of their job, according to a Patriot-News reporter following the selection process. In addition to the charges Sandusky faces, two top Penn State officials have been charged with not reporting an abuse incident brought to their attention in 2001 by then-assistant coach McQueary.

'Fair shake'
Twelve of the 40 jurors questioned Wednesday morning were excused, including one who knew Sandusky personally. Some were let go because of financial hardship; others because of previous vacation plans.

As jury selection continued, Cleland reiterated that the trial would start Monday at 9 a.m. and run until the end of June, according to PennLive.com. Cleland said he would not sequester the jury once the trial begins.

Forty prospective jurors were interviewed for the sexual abuse trial of former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

Earlier, defense lawyer Joe Amendola arrived with Sandusky just after 8:15 a.m. and said he's confident the nine jurors already picked will give "us a fair shake."

Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan, Pennsylvania's senior deputy attorney general, said that jury selection was "so far, so good."

Prosecutors have 'bizarre' letters Sandusky wrote to victim, source tells NBC

Jurors are being chosen from among people who live in the State College area, where Penn State's main campus is located.

"I need you to all have an open mind," Cleland told jurors on Tuesday, according to PennLive.com. "This defendant is charged with sexual abuse of children."

9 jurors chosen so far in Jerry Sandusky trial

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. Some of the accusers are expected to testify. Sandusky has repeatedly denied the charges.

On Monday, the alleged victims were told they would have to use their real names when they testified. Lawyers for five accusers had requested their clients be allowed to use pseudonyms.

Victim #4
Prosecutors have obtained multiple incriminating and “bizarre” letters that Sandusky allegedly wrote to one of his accusers, who is known as Victim #4, NBC News reported Tuesday. The letters are allegedly written in the former coach's handwriting.

According to the indictment handed up against Sandusky, the defendant met the boy -- who is now 28 -- through his Second Mile charity and slowly won his trust by giving him gifts and other rewards.

"Victim 4 became a fixture in the Sandusky household, sleeping overnight and accompanying Sandusky to charity functions and Penn State football games,” it said. Usually the persuasion Sandusky employed was accompanied by gifts and opportunities to attend sporting and charity events. He gave Victim #4 dozens of gifts, some purchased and some obtained from various sporting goods vendors such as Nike and Airwalk." 

The case has drawn intense media attention, with about two dozen television trucks parked outside the courthouse.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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