Sandusky Case on the Fast Track

(NECN/NBC News: Brian Mooar, Bellefonte, Penn.) - The judge in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial today told jurors to expect closing arguments to begin Thursday.

The defense began Tuesday with testimony about the character of the Penn. State football coach … with his attorneys trying to prove he could not have committed the crimes of which he's accused.

The defense tried, but failed, to have much of the case thrown out.

The Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial is on the fast track … and Judge John Cleland tells jurors they could begin deliberating as early as Thursday - and will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.

The prosecution closed today with the mother of the young man known as victim number nine … who recalled the night her son begged her to pick him up at Sandusky's home.

"He's outside without his shoes on waiting for her. He clearly was afraid to be in that house. That was a very powerful moment for the prosecution," NBC Legal Analyst Wes Oliver said.

Reflecting on the boy's suffering, she said, "I just can't imagine."

The defense opened with a minor victory: prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor child endangerment charge … but Sandusky still faces 51 more serious counts.

The first defense witness was another former Penn. State coach. Richard Anderson testified he, like Sandusky, had showered with young boys - many times.

The defense argues that's simply part of the football culture.

Prosecutor Joe McGettigan asked Anderson whether he had ever hugged young boys in the shower - or stayed with them in hotel rooms. The coach said no.

Anderson also testified about grueling work days and frequent travel.

"One of the coaches described how often a coach for Penn state would have to work. And you could imagine they would spend a lot of time in the office, on trips, giving speaking engagements. You could imagine there would be a lot of different times when the coach would have his time very well tied up," Oliver said.

The defense argues the timing of the alleged offenses is so vague … Sandusky can't offer an alibi - but the judge refused to dismiss the charges.

As he was leaving court on Tuesday, a reporter asked Sandusky whether he was going to testify. He didn't answer.

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