Jayson Williams' Defense Rests

The defense in Jayson Williams' manslaughter trial rested Wednesday after the former NBA star said he would not take the stand.

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

Williams, 36, is charged in the February 2002 shooting death of a limousine driver at his mansion. The defense rested Wednesday after presenting five witnesses; the prosecution presented 36.

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

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.

Williams faces eight charges, the most serious of which is aggravated manslaughter. He is also charged with attempting to make the shooting look like a suicide and persuading others to lie about it. Collectively, the charges carry up to 55 years in prison.

Williams retired from the New Jersey Nets in 2000 after a decade in the NBA, unable to overcome a broken leg suffered a year earlier in a collision with a teammate. He was suspended from his job as an NBA analyst for NBC after the shooting.