Jury gets case in Cosby sex assault trial

Lawrence Kim
June 13, 2017

"He knew exactly what was going to happen and that was part of the plan", said Steele.

Their closing arguments, delivered over more than four hours, capped a weeklong trial of the entertainer and started a countdown clock for a verdict likely to draw a worldwide spotlight to the Norristown courthouse. She was conspicuously absent last week, as Cosby was escorted by various fellow on-screen co-stars from his Hollywood days.

Citing a settlement between Cosby and Kelly Johnson, a former William Morris assistant who accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 1996, Steele said that Cosby has a history of trying to cover up his assaults. The jury included two black members.

Victims' right groups have said Constand is a flashpoint for a larger cause but that it does not diminish her case.

The second call is evidence of consciousness of guilt, Steele argued, as was the suggestion by Cosby and a team of lawyers to send Andrea and Gianna Constand to Miami, Florida, to meet with Cosby and discuss the situation.

"Stop this!" he pleaded repeatedly with jurors.

Defence lawyers have sought to discredit Ms Constand by suggesting the pair were in a romantic relationship and she had changed her story several times during a previous investigation.

In his argument, McMonagle emphasized that Cosby consistently portrayed the encounter as consensual.

With Cosby's wife of 53 years, Camille, looking on from the gallery for the first time in the 6-day-old trial, he told a judge that he made the decision not to take the stand after talking it over with his lawyers. They said Constand's initial statements to police were full of inconsistencies that undermine the truthfulness of her story.

"I want you to think about the courage Andrea Constand has had doing what she had to do", he urged the jury.

Cosby himself did not testify on his behalf. Constand did make a brief call to Cosby at 9:45 p.m. March 16, 2004, he said.

Constand testified last week that she made the calls because of her job at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and a famous alumnus, and Steele noted the calls stopped as soon as she left the school. "This is talking to a lover", McMonagle said of one 49-minute call.

"Don't leave your common sense in Pittsburgh."This isn't talking to a trustee".

McMonagle told the jury that Cosby's freedom is at stake now, not just his finances.

Camille Cosby has been deposed in a civil suit filed by an accuser and had been active behind the scenes in developing strategy in the criminal case, according to sources familiar with defense preparations.

"You know why we're here", McMonagle said scornfully. Dressed in a gray-and-white sweater and skirt, she had a rigid smile fixed on her face, and her white hair was shaved so close to her head that she nearly appeared bald.

Constand, 44, testified last week that Cosby gave her three blue pills and then penetrated her with his fingers against her will as she lay paralyzed and half-conscious. She says they left her semi-conscious. His deposition was sealed for years until a judge released parts in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, prompting a new set of prosecutors to take a fresh look at the case.

After the defense shocked the court by resting its case after only one witness, the prosecution made closing arguments focused on Cosby's statements to investigators more than 10 years ago.

"Who says that?" asked Steele, who proceeded to critique the comedian's attempts to pay off Constand after he got anxious that she may go public.

In Cosby's case, it does not appear that he put a priority on consent, admitting in a 2005 deposition that he gave quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.

Cosby later told police the pills were Benadryl, an over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine.

Prosecutors suggest Cosby gave her something stronger.

Cosby countered that what he gave her were over-the-counter antihistamines to help her relax, and that their relationship was consensual - despite the fact that Constand has come out publicly as lesbian.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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