Sandusky Waives Preliminary Hearing

In a surprise move Tuesday morning, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Sandusky, who faces more than 50 counts related to allegations of sexual molestation of boys, is "totally prepared and committed to proving his innocence" according to his attorney Joe Amendola. "We're ready to defend. We've always been ready to defend," Amendola told reporters outside the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., after the brief court hearing. "Today's waiver has nothing to do with conceding anything. There have been no plea negotiations. There will be no plea negotiations. This is a fight to the death. This is the fight of Jerry Sandusky's life."

CNN reports that prosecutors had prepared to put 11 witnesses on the stand Tuesday, including some of Sandusky's accusers. Sandusky's $250,000 bond on child rape and other charges will remain in place, and he also remains on house arrest and is ordered not to have any contact with minors. His next court date was set for January 11, but Amendola said Sandusky will waive that appearance, too.

Onlookers who packed the courthouse reacted with surprise, but senior deputy attorney General E. Marc Costanzo told reporters that Sandusky's decision to waive the hearing spared his accusers the need to recount their stories on the witness stand twice - although they would still have to testify at trial, according to CNN.

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