Jerry Sandusky Will Not Testify, Defense Rests In His Trial
JERRY SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
BOB COSTAS: Yes.
JERRY SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted, you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.
-- November 14, 2011 on "Rock Center" on NBC
As late as Tuesday evening, Jerry Sandusky had planned to testify at his trial on 51 counts of sex abuse against 10 different boys. He wanted the jury to hear his side of the story in his own words, but perhaps with memories of hearing Sandusky's clumsy, butchered interview transcribed above entered as evidence by the prosecution last week, Sandusky's defense team thought better of it.
And after the one day, Tuesday, in which the defense made any semblance of headway in trying to plant a reasonable doubt in one juror's head, Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola decided to rest his case Wednesday morning.
Closing arguments from both sides will be heard starting at 8:00 am Central Time Thursday morning.
What does all of this mean? Well, let's break it down:
1. The most anticipated witness involved in this case (other than the late Joe Paterno), Sandusky himself, will not speak. The next time we hear from Jerry Sandusky, it will be in front of the press outside the courthouse after being found not guilty or (more likely) in some interview in a state prison with a major news outlet (assuming some old fashioned "prison justice" doesn't end his days on earth first).
How much good or harm to his own case that Sandusky could have done by testifying will always be debated. We know that in his two public opportunities to speak on these charges (the aforementioned NBC interview and an interview with The New York Times), he came across as unprepared and downright creepy. As Sandusky has maintained his innocence in the face of these charges, he would eventually have had to answer the question "Yes or no, did you (fill in name of sex act here) on Victim (number)?", and in turn, probably had to perjure himself to maintain a fraction of a percent chance of staying out of prison. Personally, I am sad we miss out on this.
2. We could know by the end of the week what Jerry Sandusky's future holds. The legal teams will make their closing arguments Thursday morning, and from there the jury should have everything they need to issue a verdict as early as Thursday afternoon. The jury will be sequestered at a nearby hotel so as not to be affected by outside influences. What had been expected to be a three-week case, could be over in from start to finish less than two weeks.
3. By having Sandusky waive his right to testify, the book can now be closed on what the defense strategy entails. It essentially consists of:
a) the portrayal of the victims, with their employment of civil attorneys fully disclosed, as a bunch of gold-digging liars;
b) the portrayal of Sandusky as a benevolent, generous soul with a soft spot for kids and a heart of gold, a line of defense that Sandusky's defense team attempted to corroborate with a parade of local residents telling stories of Sandusky's aiding young people in straightening out their lives;
c) an attempt to paint Sandusky's admitted acts, particularly showering with young boys, as normal and almost "ho-hum," with two former Penn State coaches saying that they routinely showered with young boys as well during their time in Happy Valley;
d) professional testimony from doctors that claim Sandusky suffers from something called "histrionic personality disorder":
The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual calls histrionic personality disorder "a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking" and "often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior" and rapidly shifting emotions.
The defense motion said people with the condition would not necessarily be grooming boys to molest them but instead might be trying to "satisfy the needs of a psyche" with the disorder.
"The jury should not be misled into believing these statements and actions are likely grooming when they are just as likely or more likely histrionic in origin," wrote defense attorney Karl Rominger in the June 11 filing.
e) finally, a bit of a gift from the police blooper gods came Tuesday, inadvertently recorded evidence that the local police (Corporal Joseph Leiter) may have strongly encouraged one of the victims into his graphic (albeit not necessarily untrue) testimony: