FORT HOOD, Texas -- The defense for Specialist Charles Graner Jr. rested its case yesterday without the accused ringleader of abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison taking the stand.
The jury of four Army officers and six senior enlisted men was expected to begin deliberating after closing arguments today.
Graner's lawyers had indicated earlier that Graner would probably be the final witness, and that he would offer his version of what occurred in a scandal that stirred outrage against the United States around the world.
But defense lawyer Guy Womack said the other witnesses provided all of the evidence necessary to make the case that military and civilian intelligence agents controlled Abu Ghraib and ordered Graner to soften up detainees for questioning.
"We came in with a checklist of things we wanted to present to the jury," Womack said. "Once we accomplished that, there was no reason to continue."
Graner, a 36-year-old reservist from Uniontown, Pa., is the first soldier to be tried on charges arising from the Abu Ghraib scandal. He had appeared glum in recent days, but outside court he said: "I feel fantastic. I'm still smiling."
He is charged with offenses including conspiracy, assault, and committing indecent acts, and could get 17 years in a military prison.
Among other things, Graner is accused of stacking naked detainees in a human pyramid and later ordering them to masturbate while other soldiers took photographs.
He also allegedly punched one man in the head hard enough to knock him out, and struck an injured prisoner with a collapsible metal stick.
In testimony yesterday, Megan Ambuhl, a former guard at Abu Ghraib, testified that intelligence officers wanted detainees roughed up there, and that Graner did not take part in a number of the abuses he is accused of committing.