msnbc | October 09, 2012
>>> welcome back, everybody. breaking news out of bellefonte, pennsylvania. powerful, emotional reaction in court of the sentencing of convicted sex offender jerry sandusky handed down within the last hour. the disgraced former penn state football coach ordered to serve at least 30 years in prison on 45 different counts of child molestation . the lead prosecutor didn't hold back his thoughts on sandusky , especially his statement he released yesterday.
>> a masterpiece that the now self-delusion, completely untethered from reality and without any acceptance of responsibility. it was entirely self-focused, as if he, again, were the victim. it was, in short, ridiculous.
>> he's talking about the report that jerry sandusky released on the even of the sentencing. now his lawyers vow to appeal the penalty, saying they never got a chance to prove their case.
>> would we have been able to prove it? we don't know. did we want the opportunity to prove it? yes. could it have been proven? very possibly, but we'll never know that. but the real question, folks, is why didn't we get the chance?
>> nbc's national investigative correspondent michael isikoff joins us now from outside the courthouse. so, michael , explain how this all went down inside.
>> reporter: well, as you mentioned, thomas, it was an emotional, at times gut-wrenching hearing. at least two of the victims who gave statements fought back tears as they talked about the damage sandusky had done to them, but probably the single most powerful moment was from victim number four, who did not break down, seemed almost angry and said "i can never forgive you" to sandusky , addressing him. and among the damage he had done, he cannot let his own child out of sight because of fear of what might happen to him. that's the lasting impact of what jerry sandusky had done to him. jerry sandusky himself gave a long, rambling statement all over the map, seemed to duplicate some of what you heard in that audio statement, and he himself broke down and fought back tears towards the end, but it was hard to see the point that he was going to make. it was very clear, by the way, that judge cleland was not happy about that audio broadcast and talked when he sentenced sandusky , saying that that statement with its conspiracy theories ranged to be unbelievable. he was not happy about the statement.
>> nbc's michael isikoff reporting for us from bellefonte, pennsylvania. michael , thank you so much. as michael brings up about that recording, sandusky did speak before the court handed down its punishment, and the defendant's rambling remarks coming on the heels of that audio statement, that specific statement in which he talked about a conspiracy theory and denied all wrongdoing.
>> they could make me out as a monster, they could treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart. in my heart, i know i did not do these alleged, disgusting acts."
>> attorney jeffrey fritz represents several victims in this case, including victim number four, whose testimony kick-started the sandusky trial. jeff , what are your thoughts and your clients' reactions to the sentencing handed down today?
>> well, obviously, today, victim four told the court, and specifically told jerry sandusky to his face about the anger and describing the horrors that were invited upon him. and he is happy to know that jerry sandusky will live the rest of his life in prison .
>> i want to play for everybody a little more from that audio statement that jerry sandusky released last night. take a listen.
>> evaluate the accusers and their families, realize they didn't come out of isolation. the accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. look at their confidantes and their honesty. think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention and potential perks. we must fight unfairness and consistency and dishonesty. people need to be portrayed for who they really are."
>> as you mentioned, jeff , one of your clients is victim number four, who gave that victim impact statement today inside the courtroom, one of three victims of jerry sandusky to give remarks before the judge handed down his sentence. what was, i guess, your clients' reaction to hearing not only that tape from last night but 18 minutes of jerry sandusky in court today trying to explain away this behavior that he was convicted of?
>> well, the general consensus, not only from victim four, but from everybody who was in this courtroom, that it was a rambling statement, it showed jerry sandusky 's narcissism, and it didn't really have a point other than this is a guy that knows he's going to prison for the rest of his life and he's akthing like the animal that he is.
>> these are boys that are interrupted in their youth through this predatory abuse that they suffered at the hands of jerry sandusky , again now convicted on those 45 counts. for your clients, what support systems do they have in place now to help them with this? because this is not -- just because they went through delivering a victim impact speech today doesn't provide closure. it's silly to think that it would.
>> well, the victims have undergone and continue to undergo counseling. but what's important to note today is these are victims that transition into survivors, and they're no longer victims. they are doing what they can to move on with their life as best they can, despite the horror.
>> you make a great point. so, we will say that you are the attorney for several of the survivors. jeffrey fritz. thank you, jeff . i appreciate you joining me this morning.
>> thank you, thomas.