Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sandusky Defense Rests; He Does Not Take Stand Case Goes to Jury Today after Closing Arguments

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sandusky Defense Rests; He Does Not Take Stand Case Goes to Jury Today after Closing Arguments

Article excerpt

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- When the trial began, defense lawyer Joe Amendola told jurors in the Jerry Sandusky case that they would hear from the former Penn State assistant football coach, in his own words.

That did not, in retrospect, mean that Mr. Sandusky would testify. When the defense rested its case shortly before noon Wednesday, it had called 28 witnesses but not the defendant. Instead, the jury viewed a televised interview that Mr. Sandusky did with NBC's Bob Costas shortly after his arrest in November on child molestation charges.

Not putting Mr. Sandusky on the witness stand signaled that Mr. Amendola was satisfied that he had put in sufficient testimony and evidence to generate reasonable doubt among the seven women and five men on the jury about allegations that Mr. Sandusky sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year span. Calling Mr. Sandusky might have done more harm than good.

The jurors will receive final legal instructions this morning from Senior McKean County Judge John Cleland, who will tell them that Mr. Sandusky was not obligated to testify and that they should not infer guilt from his silence. The judge told the jury that he will give the legal instructions when court begins at 9 a.m., followed by the defense's closing argument and then the prosecution's.

That would be a departure from the typical sequence of closing arguments followed by legal instructions. Some legal reform advocates prefer having the instructions first because they help the jury evaluate the lawyers' arguments.

Under Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, the prosecution always argues last.

The jurors will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.

The defense called four witnesses before resting Wednesday, including a doctor who spoke with Penn State graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary shortly after Mr. McQueary happened upon an alleged sexual assault by Mr. Sandusky on a boy in a locker room. Jonathan Dranov said Mr. McQueary spoke only of hearing the assault, not seeing it.

Dr. Dranov, who was called to the house of Mr. McQueary's father on a February night in 2001, said he arrived to find Mr. McQueary "visibly shaken and upset."

"He had gone into the Penn State football locker room to put away sneakers he had just purchased and he heard what he described as sexual sounds" coming from the shower, Dr. Dranov said. "I asked him what he meant and he got more upset."

According to the doctor, Mr. McQueary reported seeing a young boy peer out from around a corner. Then "an arm reached around and pulled him back," he quoted Mr. McQueary as saying. A bit later, Mr. McQueary saw Mr. Sandusky emerge from the shower, Dr. Dranov testified.

"Did he describe seeing any particular sex act?" defense lawyer Karl Rominger asked.

"No," Dr. Dranov replied. He said he advised Mr. McQueary to report the incident to Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. …

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