Sandusky case drawing to a rapid close

Sandusky's attorneys prepare their defense
Sandusky's attorneys prepare their defense


    Sandusky's attorneys prepare their defense


Sandusky's attorneys prepare their defense 02:36

Story highlights

  • Closing arguments could come Thursday, judge says
  • Testimony ended early Monday because of "technical issues," judge says
  • First defense witness says he never saw any inappropriate conduct
  • Sandusky may take the stand in his own defense, his lawyer has suggested

Closing arguments in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial 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.

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.

At the conclusion of the trial, jurors will be sequestered in a hotel so outside influences cannot affect their deliberations, Cleland said.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday morning with brief testimony from the mother of one of the alleged victims.

Sandusky on trial: Week one testimony
Sandusky on trial: Week one testimony


    Sandusky on trial: Week one testimony


Sandusky on trial: Week one testimony 02:58
Sandusky's personality disorder defense
Sandusky's personality disorder defense


    Sandusky's personality disorder defense


Sandusky's personality disorder defense 03:29
Win for the Sandusky defense?
Win for the Sandusky defense?


    Win for the Sandusky defense?


Win for the Sandusky defense? 03:32
'Victim 9' and the Sandusky weekends
'Victim 9' and the Sandusky weekends


    'Victim 9' and the Sandusky weekends


'Victim 9' and the Sandusky weekends 02:26

"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.

Sandusky's child sex abuse allegations: In his own words

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.

Before Monday's testimony, Cleland rejected defense arguments that the charges were too vague or the testimony did not support the claims.

Prosecutors did withdraw one charge of unlawful contact with a minor involving one of the defendants. The law was not in effect during the time the alleged misconduct occurred, prosecutors said. That left 51 charges pending against Sandusky.

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," lawyer Joe 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.

'Sandusky 8' describe seduction, molestation, betrayal

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 game, if he resisted the sexual advances.

"There's a tsunami of evidence against him," veteran criminal defense attorney Ron Kuby said.

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.

Some of the accusers have civil attorneys, Amendola noted last week, calling that unusual. Others, he said, have a financial interest in the case, an allegation that was denied by the accusers and their attorneys.

But Howard Janet, who represents the accuser known as Victim 6, blasted Amendola's assertion that his client and others detailed the abuse just so they could sue Sandusky, calling it nonsense.

"Does that mean that none of them are telling the truth, because they've gone to hire a lawyer?" he said. "That's absurd."

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."

What is histrionic personality disorder?

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.

Lastly, there's the question of whether Sandusky himself will take the stand.

Amendola told jurors last week that Sandusky routinely "got showers with kids" after working out and that he would say so later.

Kuby, the defense lawyer, said having the former coach testify may give him his best chance at avoiding jail time.

"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."

Jerry Sandusky trial: All you need to know

      Scandal at Penn State

    • Paterno family to sue NCAA

      The family of Joe Paterno plans to file a lawsuit Thursday against the NCAA seeking to overturn its sanctions against Penn State University over a child sex abuse scandal.
    • Penn State students work on a banner at "Nittanyville" outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania, on Friday.

      Kicking off a new era of football

      In many ways, football is life at Penn State, a tradition synonymous with the campus. Nittany Lion fans are deeply religious about their football. Now, they begin a new era.
    • The site sits empty on Sunday where the Paterno statue once stood.

      When the hero falls off the pedestal

      It's an old, old story. We've all placed people on pedestals, and then, almost inevitably, they let us down. They violate our trust. They betray us. They fall off the pedestal, or we remove them.
    • BTS.Emmert.Penn State Sanctions_00002615

      'Stark wake-up call' for Penn State

      The NCAA announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University and stripped 14 seasons of football victories from the late head coach Joe Paterno.
    • STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Head coach Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions look on before facing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium on October 23, 2004 in State College, Pennsylvania.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 6-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

      Sandusky 'empowered,' review finds

      The most powerful former leaders at Penn State University have been accused of showing "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims.
    • Guilty, guilty, guilty ...

      With the same decision announced on count after count -- guilty, guilty, guilty -- Jerry Sandusky's emphatic denials he had sexually abused boys became obsolete.
    • Sandusky: In his own words

      Jerry Sandusky admitted showering with boys but denied the sex accusations. Here is what Sandusky has said publicly in the months before the trial.
    • Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse following his child sexual-abuse trial on June 18, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Today the defense began their argument in the sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky who is charged with 52 criminal counts of alleged sexual abuse of children.

      Sandusky's son fits pattern of victims

      Jerry Sandusky's writings in a 2000 memoir about the difficult relationship with his adopted son are similar to several letters he wrote to a boy now known as alleged victim No. 4.
    • Holloway Sandusky

      What the 'Sandusky 8' said

      The words came haltingly, punctuated by ragged sighs, groans and cracking voices as two teenage boys bared their darkest secrets to a packed courtroom.