Cosby defense rests without calling the comedian to testify

Rebecca Barbier
Junho 20, 2017

The fate of Bill Cosby June 12, 2017 lay in the hands of a United States jury who deliberated over dinner and into the night on whether or not the disgraced entertainer sexually assaulted a woman at his home more than 13 years ago.

But in closing statements Monday, the prosecution portrayed the actor as a sexual predator who deliberately drugged 44-year-old Canadian Andrea Constand so she could not resist his assault at his Philadelphia home in January 2004.

The Pittsburgh-area jury has been away from home for more than a week and was in the courthouse for about 14 hours Monday through a brief defence case and closing arguments.

In statements to police and in his civil deposition, the comedian known as "America's Dad" admitted he gave Constand pills and then engaged in sexual contact with her.

Cosby has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women, but he has always maintained his innocence.

Prosecutor Kevin Steele and defense attorney Brian McMonagle each sent the jurors off to deliberations with rhetorical dilemmas to resolve. Then pointing to Camille Cosby said: "And she deserved better".

Constand, under the influence of three drugs given to her by Cosby and who briefly lost consciousness, could not and did not give consent, he said.

Prosecutors suggest Cosby gave her something stronger.

The Cosby defense team had meant to present more witnesses to help make their case, but those witnesses were blocked by the judge. "This is talking to a lover", he added.Steele responded during his closing argument, which lasted over two hours, saying that Constand had called Cosby only three times after she left her job at Temple."To allege that this is just some relationship that is going to a different level, doesn't make any common sense", Steele replied. It is worth noting that Bill Cosby has claimed to be legally blind, and it is entirely possible he simply didn't see his wife enter the courtroom and that the pair were photographed together outside the courthouse. Cosby, who did not testify, has denied all allegations.

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The brevity of the defense case contrasted with the presentation by prosecutors, who called 12 witnesses over five days of often emotional testimony.

Jurors began weighing Bill Cosby's fate Monday after his lawyer implored them to see Andrea Constand as a lying, money-seeking former paramour, while the chief prosecutor in the case portrayed her as a courageous victim seeking justice. He also described three pillars of the case had been proven: 1) Cosby drugged Constand; 2) She was "legally" unconscious; and 3) She was unable to consent to sexual activity.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

The six-minute defence came after a week-long prosecutorial case was laid out against Cosby; several witnesses were called to testify, including Kelly Johnson, who accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 1996 in a similar fashion to Constand's allegations. Monday was the first day she had joined her husband in court since the trial started June 5.

Once both sides returned to the courtroom, Cosby confirmed to O'Neill that he would not take the stand. O'Neill assured Cosby that he would instruct the jury that defendants are not required to testify.

Authorities declined to charge Cosby when she first came forward in 2005, but a new district attorney reopened the case in 2015 after Cosby's deposition was unsealed at the request of The Associated Press.

Constand initially settled the case with a civil suit in 2006, having waited a year to report the alleged assault to the police. The couple also has four daughters. She sat in the front row, across the aisle from Constand. But a spokesman said last week it still was a possibility.

Constand testified at trial that she did not know who Marguerite Jackson was.

Jurors also heard Cosby's version in the form of his police statement and his lurid deposition in her 2005 lawsuit. On Monday, the question hanging over the case was whether the TV star himself would testify. They said Constand's initial statements to police were full of inconsistencies that undermine the truthfulness of her story.

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