Sandusky's defense to call more witnesses, unclear if he will take the stand
POSTED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 1:14am
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania (CNN) — The defense will call witnesses for a second day in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial Tuesday but it was still unclear if the former Penn State assistant coach will take the stand.
Closing arguments could begin as soon as Thursday, Judge John Cleland said Monday.
He said the defense will probably end its case midday Wednesday, followed by the prosecution's rebuttal. That should end Wednesday afternoon, clearing the way for closing arguments Thursday, less than two weeks after the start of what had been expected to be a three-week case.
Early in the trial, Joe Amendola, Sandusky's lawyer, implied that the accused football coach would take the stand.
Sandusky routinely "got showers with kids" after working out and that he would say so later, Amendola said Monday.
But as the trial neared its end it was still unclear if Sandusky would speak.
Ron Kuby, a veteran criminal defense attorney who has been following the trial, said there has been a "tsunami of evidence against him," and suggested that Sandusky should take the stand.
"Just maybe he can convince one juror to hold out," the lawyer said. "A hung jury, right now, is a lot better than life without parole."
The defense case began Monday, but testimony ended early because of "technical issues" involving witnesses, Cleland told jurors.
Sandusky, 68, is on trial on 51 counts related to accusations of improper conduct and sexual abuse involving at least 10 boys over a 15-year span. The former Penn State assistant coach has denied the charges.
Prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday morning with brief testimony from the mother of one of the alleged victims.
"He gave him clothes, he gave him gifts," the mother of an accuser called Victim 9 testified. "I just wish he'd given him underwear to replace the underwear I could never find in my laundry."
The final prosecution witness testified Monday that her son seemed to suffer from stomach ailments during the time he was visiting Sandusky and sometimes did not want to visit the former Penn State assistant's home.
But she said she did not ask him about any possible abuse and still does not know what happened to him.
"I didn't really want to hear," she said, crying.
The defense then opened its case with a former Penn State coach who testified about Sandusky's stellar reputation in the community.
Richard Anderson said that it was not uncommon for coaches and youths to use the shower at the same time, and that he had never seen anything inappropriate between Sandusky and a child.
The defense called five other witnesses who also said Sandusky had a stellar reputation in the community.
A main focus of the defense's strategy may be to attempt to poke holes in the prosecution's case thus far.
"A lot of people lied," Amendola said last Monday in his opening statement.
Over four days, several people testified that Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts with him in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches' locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home.
One told jurors that Sandusky -- whom he met, like many of the accusers, through the Second Mile nonprofit for disadvantaged youths that the ex-coach founded -- had threatened him if he told others about the abuse. Another said Sandusky warned he might send him home from a trip to Texas, where they'd gone to watch a Penn State bowl.
The defense could challenge the accusers' timetable, questioning if Sandusky could have committed the crimes they claim he did, when they say he did them.
The defense is expected to call an expert witness to testify that Sandusky may have histrionic personality disorder, which the National Institutes of Health says describes people who act "in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves."
The prosecution had presented as evidence what one accuser described as "creepy love letters," written by Sandusky, that they argued were part of "grooming techniques" commonly employed by sexual predators.
Judge Cleland issued an order Friday allowing a defense motion to offer expert testimony from a psychologist who "will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder."
"The goal of a person suffering from this disorder in writing those letters would not necessarily be to groom or sexually consummate a relationship in a criminal manner, but rather to satisfy the needs of a psyche belabored by the needs of such a disorder," the defense lawyers wrote in their motion.
Sandusky was expected to be examined Sunday by a prosecution psychologist related to the personality disorder defense, according to a source with knowledge with the case. It was not clear if that happened.
Another person who could testify is Dottie Sandusky, the accused ex-coach's wife. While many alleged victims knew her, she is not accused of having witnessed any sexual abuse.
CNN's Dana Garrett, Laura Dolan and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.
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