Defense Rests at Williams' Manslaughter Trial

The defense rested Wednesday in the Jayson Williams (search) manslaughter trial.

Defense lawyers concluded their case shortly after the former NBA (search) star told a judge that he would not take the stand in his own defense.

"I am innocent, I put my trust in God and I have great confidence in this jury," Williams told Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman without the jury present.

Williams said he made the decision after discussions with his wife and defense team.

He is charged in the February 2002 shooting death of a limousine driver at his Hunterdon County mansion.

The trial, now in its eighth week, was to resume Thursday with prosecution rebuttal witnesses. Coleman told jurors that closing arguments could begin as early as Tuesday.

The defense attempted to show that Williams was not aware that the driver, Costas "Gus" Christofi (search), 55, was in the bedroom with him while he was giving a tour of his mansion to friends and members of the Harlem Globetrotters. Williams picked up a shotgun, snapped it shut and it fired, killing Christofi.

Williams, 36, faces eight charges, the most serious of which is aggravated manslaughter. Collectively, they carry up to 55 years in prison. The least of the charges carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison, but would likely result in probation.

In addition to manslaughter, Williams is charged with attempting to make the shooting look like a suicide and with persuading others to lie that they were downstairs when Christofi shot himself.