The prosecution quickly announced that it would not offer rebuttal witnesses. Such was the anticlimactic end of testimony in the Sandusky trial, which began more quickly than expected and could be wrapped up sooner as well, with a verdict possible by the end of the week.
Defendants do not have to testify in their own defense. Sandusky’s silence means that the jury has heard his denial of the charges only through his attorneys and through an excerpt of an interview he gave to Bob Costas of NBC last fall, shortly after he was arrested.
In the interview, Sandusky declared his innocence and denied some specific allegations, admitting only to horseplay while taking showers with boys in the public locker rooms. But at key moments he gave halting answers to questions about whether he was sexually attracted to young boys.
In one passage heard by the jury last week — but edited out of the hastily arranged NBC broadcast in prime time — Sandusky said: “I didn’t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped. There are many that I didn’t have — I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.”
Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning. The judge will then give his instructions to the seven women and five men of the jury, all of them residents of Centre County, Pa. They’ll be sequestered during deliberations, which will be complicated by the sheer number of allegations against Sandusky.
Attorneys for Sandusky are under a gag order and did not offer a public explanation for why he didn’t testify. Amendola had suggested in his opening statement that his client would take the stand. His announcement that the defense was resting its case came only after a nearly hour-long break in the proceedings during which Sandusky, the lawyers and the judge vanished into back rooms, suggesting that the final decision on whether Sandusky would take the stand was made at the last minute.
The public seats in the courtroom were filled by 8 a.m., an hour before the trial’s resumption, after several people showed up early in hopes of seeing Sandusky take the stand.
“I just wanted to see him try to defend himself. I was very disappointed,” said Constance Boland, a school guidance counselor who had regularly referred troubled children to the Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded that prosecutors say became his supply line for young boys whom he abused. Boland arrived at the courthouse at 3:30 a.m. to make sure she got a seat.
Tom Kline, an attorney for one of Sandusky’s accusers, told reporters afterward that Sandusky’s silence means the defense offered “no direct refutation” of the charges leveled by eight alleged victims who testified last week. He suggested that jurors will take note of the fact that Sandusky was willing to give an interview to Costas on national television but would not explain himself to fellow residents of Centre County.