Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile and was rightfully convicted, filmmaker John Ziegler said.
Yet he came out in Sandusky's defense in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan late Monday, disparaging witness testimony that led to that conviction.
The A.M. radio talk show host recently released controversial interviews he conducted with the former Penn State assistant coach.
Sandusky will probably be incarcerated for the rest of his life for child sex abuse convictions, but he has had his say outside the prison walls in these recorded phone conversations, which Ziegler partially posted on the Internet.
In the audio clips, Sandusky attempted to discredit an eyewitness in the case against him and downplayed what head coach Joe Paterno may have known about his activities.
It was harmless fun
Sandusky recalled in one anecdote trading swats with an undressed boy who was showering near him, but mentioned no sexual acts. He depicted it as mutual amusement for both the boy and him.
"He would get the last smack," Sandusky said, "and then I would chase him, like, and I ran him into a wall ..."
Ziegler combined Sandusky's account with what he called evidence corroborating it.
In this case, Sandusky did not recall the presence at the incident of a key witness who testified against him. "I never saw Mike McQueary. I don't know if the young man saw him," Sandusky told Ziegler.
McQueary, another former Penn State assistant coach, had testified during the trial that he walked in on Sandusky raping a child in the showers at a school facility.
Sandusky scoffed at the testimony.
"I don't understand how anybody would have walked into that locker room from where he was and heard sounds associated that was sex going on," Sandusky told Ziegler with a laugh.
Ziegler then held up a paper to Morgan, allegedly a statement from the victim in Sandusky's narrative, saying that nothing happened. McQueary was lying, the filmmaker suggested, because prosecutors encouraged him to.
Still, Ziegler said he believes Sandusky committed abuse with the horseplay behavior he described. The conviction on actual sexual acts was a "rush to judgment" in Ziegler's eyes.
During the trial, eight young men gave testimony about Sandusky groping them in a car, soaping them in the shower and sexually assaulting them on a basement waterbed.
Ziegler is fighting for JoePa
Ziegler, a native of Pennsylvania and a former Philadelphia sportscaster, is fighting in the name of Joe Paterno.
"Joe Paterno's dying wish was -- 'just find out what the truth was,'" Ziegler insisted. "No one has done that for Joe Paterno."
Talking with Sandusky was "the only way to do that," he said. Sandusky, who refused to take the stand in his own case, spoke eagerly to him for three and a half hours, according to Ziegler.
Paterno's family has objected to the recording's release.
"The Paterno family would prefer to remain silent on this matter," the family's attorney, Wick Sollers, said in a written statement, "but they feel it is important to make it clear that they had no role in obtaining or releasing this recording. Moreover, they believe that any attempt to use this recording as a defense of Joe Paterno is misguided and inappropriate."
The family advised the public to inform themselves via the website Paterno.com and reports from official legal and law enforcement sources.
But on their website, they have defended the iconic late head coach's reputation, saying the allegations that he knew of the danger Sandusky posed are overblown.
A man on a mission