Nightly News | December 16, 2011
>> we're joined by savannah guthrie , our nbc news chief legal correspondent, and other than the gross alleged details in this case, what changed materially today?
>> well i think we really saw what may turn out to be some of the most powerful evidence against not these two penn state officials, them, of course, but also, jerry sandusky . it is so rare in a sexual assault case to have an eyewitness to an alleged crime and that's what mcqueary says he is. so we saw here he is giving a very vivid, detailed narrative. i would make one caution which this is the early stage, just the preliminary hearing . prosecutors only had to put on the barest of evidence to establish probable cause for the charges to go forward and defense attorneys were somewhat limited in their cross-examination, so we haven't really seen the full throttle attack on the testimony mcqueary gave that we will see if this case indeed proceeds to trial.
>> for folks who haven't been following the machinations of this, what was the decision sandusky's team reached earlier this week?
>> they said bedon't want to go forward with a preliminary hearing . if they had we would have heard from mcqueary and several of the alleged victims in this case. ultimately it was a trade-off for these defense attorneys. on the one hand, they don't have to have days and days of bad publicity, all these detailed narratives come out but they missed an opportunity because they didn't get to lock these alleged victims into testimony which they could later cross-examine on trying to say oh, there are inconsistencies that, kind of thing and they missed the opportunity to size up the demeanor and credibility of these alleged victims in court.
>> savannah guthrie , thank you, as always, for being with us