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Jerry Sandusky defense rests without calling ex-coach to testify

June 20, 2012|By Michael Muskal

The defense in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial rested Wednesday morning without calling the former Penn State football coach to the witness stand.

In its opening statements, his lawyers had hinted that they would allow Sandusky to take the stand in his own defense. But after a closed-door meeting with Judge John Cleland, the defense returned to the courtroom and announced it was resting its case in the third day.

It had been unclear whether Sandusky would testify because he would likely be subjected to a forceful cross-examination by the prosecution. In media interviews Sandusky has denied abusing anyone, but the former coach has come off poorly.

PHOTOS: Who's who in the Sandusky case

For example, in an interview with sports journalist Bob Costas, Sandusky famously paused when asked if he was attracted to young boys, creating an impression of indecision.

“Sexually attracted, no,” Sandusky answered in a recording of the interview played in court last week. “I enjoy young people; I love to be around them. But I know I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.”

Sandusky, 68, is accused of 51 criminal charges of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. If convicted, he faces hundreds of years in prison.

With the defense resting, the prosecution is expected to call an expert witness to rebut part of the defense case presented on Tuesday.

The defense, to explain why Sandusky sent gifts and love note to some of the boys who testified they were sexually abused, argued that the former coach was suffering from histrionic personality disorder. The prosecution has argued that Sandusky was grooming the boys and later forced them to perform sexual acts.

After the prosecution rebuttal, both sides are scheduled to begin their summations. Cleland has said the case could go the seven-woman, five-men jury by Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the defense continued its attack on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. The defense called Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a family friend of Mike McQueary, the graduate student who said he witnessed Sandusky with a naked boy of 10 or 12 in the locker room showers at Penn State University.

Dranov testified that McQueary called him and said that he had heard sexual sounds and saw a boy in the shower with Sandusky.

That account differs slightly from what McQueary told jurors last week. McQueary testified he saw Sandusky pressing a boy up against the wall inside the shower, and that he had no doubt he was witnessing a sex act.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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