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Sandusky, victims plan to speak at sentencing

Sandusky, victims plan to speak at sentencing

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) Jerry Sandusky and at least some of his victims plan to address the judge at his sentencing, a proceeding that may last less than two hours, lawyers said after a closed-door meeting to iron out logistics ahead of the Tuesday hearing.

Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola said ``it's as certain as certain can be'' that the former Penn State assistant football coach will speak to Judge John Cleland and assert his innocence before he is sentenced on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

``What I anticipate he'll say is he's innocent,'' Amendola said outside the courthouse Monday afternoon.

Amendola said he did not expect any others to speak on Sandusky's behalf, although friends and family members - including his wife, Dottie - have written letters of support. Dottie Sandusky plans to attend the hearing, he said.

Given the number of charges, the serious nature of his crimes and his age, the 68-year-old Sandusky faces the likelihood of a sentence that will send him to state prison for the rest of his life. Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including some attacks inside Penn State athletic facilities.

``The important thing for us is, it starts the appellate process,'' Amendola said.

One element of the appeal is expected to be a claim that the defense did not have time to adequately prepare for trial. Sandusky was charged in November, following a lengthy investigation.

Tom Kline, lawyer for a young man who said Sandusky groped him in a shower when he was 12 or 13, said his client plans to read a statement Tuesday.

``He's going to tell the judge how this has affected him, how it's been painful and difficult,'' Kline said.

Lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan said as many as a half-dozen victims are expected to be heard.

The eight victims who testified against Sandusky at trial described abuse that ranged from grooming and fondling to oral and anal sex. Sandusky did not take the stand but gave interviews shortly after his arrest in which he declared he was not guilty.

Karl Rominger, another Sandusky defense lawyer, said the sentencing and a related proceeding to determine if Sandusky qualifies as a sexually violent predator under Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law should take less than two hours.

Rominger said a 30-year minimum sentence - which would keep Sandusky behind bars at least until he's nearly 100 - was probably the most the defense could hope for.

Rominger said on WHP radio that Sandusky knows the judge could impose a longer sentence if Sandusky insists he is innocent, but some offenses carry mandatory minimums that are likely to translate into an effective life sentence.

``Why worry about the niceties of pleasing the court when it won't change your sentence?'' Rominger said.

Along with Sandusky, prosecutors last year also arrested two Penn State administrators and charged them with lying to the grand jury that investigated Sandusky and failing to properly report suspected abuse. Tim Curley, the athletic director on leave, and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president for business and finance, deny the charges and await trial.

The case led to the firing of longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who died from lung cancer in January, and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier, who remains a faculty member. Eight legal teams that represent at least 20 victims or other potential civil claimants have surfaced, and Penn State has indicated its desire to settle claims out of court.

After Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Sandusky most likely would be sent to Camp Hill state prison. There, he would be tested and evaluated by Department of Corrections personnel, who will determine which institution he will be sent to.

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Associated Press Writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa., contributed to this report.

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.