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Judge Dismisses 3 Charges Against Jerry Sandusky, Jury Now Deliberating

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By Andrew Lu on June 21, 2012 12:07 PM

After seven days of testimony, 50 witnesses, and accounts of serial abuse from eight young accusers, the jury in Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse case began deliberations Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Before closing argument even began, Judge John Cleland has dropped three of the charges against Sandusky. Now the former Penn State football coach faces 48 criminal counts of sexually assaulting 10 alleged victims, instead of 51 counts.

A Jerry Sandusky verdict could be reached this week.

Two of the three charges dropped related to Victim 4. One count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of aggravated indecent assault involving the accuser were dropped as not being supported by the evidence, reports The Associated Press. Victim 4 testified that Sandusky attempted to penetrate him but didn't say that penetration actually happened. Those counts require penetration.

Another charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving a different victim was dropped because the charge was duplicated in another count, said the judge.

Sandusky's attorney assailed the credibility of his client's alleged victims, USA Today reports. Attorney Joe Amendola told the jury in closing arguments that state investigators repeatedly coached them and others to provide damaging information against the former Penn State football coach.

Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III countered that the attorneys defending the former Penn State assistant coach resorted to a strategy typically employed in the face of overwhelming evidence: Admit what must, deny what they can, call everyone a liar, and allege a conspiracy.

In giving the jury instructions, Judge Cleland reminded the jury that, "You may believe he exercised poor judgment, but poor judgment in itself does not warrant criminality ... [it is] not necessarily a crime to shower with a boy, lather with soap, engage in back rubbing." 

Prosecutors have the burden of proving that Sandusky committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The Jerry Sandusky trial could end this week, depending on jury deliberations. Closing arguments are scheduled and three charges have already been dropped.

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