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Sandusky defense rests after chipping away at key witness - abc27 WHTM

Sandusky defense rests after chipping away at key witness

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WHTM) -

Defense attorneys took aim at the credibility of a key prosecution witness before resting their case Wednesday morning at Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse trial.

Among the final witnesses called to the witness stand was Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a friend of the McQueary family, who told jurors he spoke to Mike McQueary the night the then-graduate assistant claimed to have witnessed Sandusky involved in a sex act with a prepubescent boy in a locker room shower.

Dranov said McQueary told him he heard "sexual sounds" before he looked toward the showers and made eye-contact with a boy who did not appear to be scared. McQueary told him an arm reached out and pulled the boy back, and that Sandusky eventually came out of the showers, Dranov said.

Dranov's account differs from what McQueary told jurors last week, when he testified he saw Sandusky standing against the back of a 10- to 12-year-old boy who had his hands up against the shower wall. He said Sandusky's arms were wrapped around the boy's midsection and told jurors he witnessed "slow movement from Sandusky's midsection."

Dranov said McQueary did not provide him with details of what he saw.

"I kept saying ‘What did you see?' and each time he would come back to the sounds, and I would say ‘What did you see?' but it just seemed to make him more upset," Dranov said in his testimony.

Under cross-examination, Dranov said McQueary was clearly upset.

"His voice was trembling. His hands were shaking. He was visibly shaken," he said.

Jurors in the morning also heard from two additional Second Mile participants who testified that Sandusky was a father figure to them.

Chad Rexrode said he stayed at Sandusky's home several times and went to games with the ex-coach, who helped him keep up his grades, but he said nothing inappropriate ever happened.

David Hilton said he was questioned by police three times and felt like investigators were trying to coach him into accusing Sandusky.

"When it got to the second or third time, I felt like they wanted me to say something that wasn't true," he said. "[They] said if I was lying that I could get in trouble, with like a felony, that I could get in trouble somehow."

State prosecutor Joe McGettigan displayed a birthday card, allegedly from Sandusky, with a poem similar to one sent to an accuser.

"David, thanks for the memory! Thanks for being so warm and friendly! Thanks for your special touch!" the card read in part.

McGettigan asked Hilton if he had ever been abused by Sandusky.  He looked down and answered "no."

McGettigan told Hilton his uncle had contacted investigators with concerns Hilton might have been abused. "Did you know he called us last night?" McGettigan asked.

"Who? My uncle. No," he replied.

The court then went into recess for over an hour before the judge and jury returned and defense attorneys announced they were resting their case. Judge John Cleland dismissed jurors for the day.

ABC News reported that Sandusky was willing to testify in his own defense and that his lawyers were leaning toward the unusual tactic until this morning, when they overruled the ex-coach and decided that he would not testify.

Before the start of testimony Wednesday, a female juror was excused for an illness and replaced by an alternate, also a woman.

The court will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday for closing arguments. The jury is expected to begin deliberations Thursday afternoon and will remain sequestered while they determine Sandusky's fate.

Sandusky, 68, is charged with 51 counts of sex abuse against 10 boys and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

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