Cosby's fate is in the hands of the jury

Lawrence Kim
June 26, 2017

Deliberations began in Bill Cosby's trial on charges of aggravated indecent assault on Monday night after prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final pleas to the jury.

Cosby's sexual assault case has sparked debate over celebrity, race, power and gender, but the brisk story laid out by prosecutors at his trial has focused mostly on what happened one night in 2004 at his gated estate in suburban Philadelphia.

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.

Constand is one of dozens of women to have accused Cosby of sex abuse - often after plying them with drugs - in a series of incidents dating to the 1960s. McMonagle said that while the comedian had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn't commit a crime.

"Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic", he added.

District Attorney Kevin Steele's closing arguments were businesslike and direct.

"Time is time, effort takes its toll."The jurors were transported back to the hotel where they have been sequestered since the trial began, and will return today at 9 a.m.to resume their deliberations".

In closing statements, the prosecution portrayed the actor as a sexual predator who deliberately drugged 44-year-old Canadian Andrea Constand so she would be unable to resist his assault in January 2004. He says Constand was stressed so he told her, "I have three friends for you to make you relax".

Cosby, the famed comedian, did not testify in his own defense, and his defense rested after calling just one repeat witness for further questioning.

The 79-year-old entertainer did not take the stand at his trial, but prosecutors used his deposition testimony - given in 2005 and 2006 as part of Constand's civil suit against him - as evidence.

In late 2014, dozens of women went public with accusations that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them over the course of his lengthy comedic career. The jury included two black members.

In his closing statement, McMonagle told jurors that Constand had changed her story after speaking with attorneys who specialize in sexual assault cases. McMonagle called the detective merely to attest to the existence of a police report about Constand's interviews with law enforcement investigators and to briefly discuss questions the policeman asked the alleged victim about several hours she spent with Cosby at a CT casino. "Why are we running from the truth of this case - this relationship? Why?"

Cosby's wife of 53 years, Camille, was in the courtroom for the first time in the trial.

She was stoic during the defence argument but left when it was the prosecution's turn.

Cosby, best known for his role as the dad in the 1980s hit family TV comedy "The Cosby Show", in 2015 was charged with sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in his home in the Philadelphia suburbs, just days before the statute of limitations was to run out. He says what they did was consensual. In clear and firm terms, she said Cosby, a powerful Temple alum, mentored her and took an interest in her career like a father figure. "We're here for them and them", McMonagle said, his voice rising as he gesticulated toward rows filled with reporters and a few of Cosby's other accusers.

"You've sent word: You're exhausted", said Judge Steven O'Neill, dismissing the panel until Wednesday morning.

"Ms Constand was untruthful time and time and time again", Mr McMonagle told the jury. "This is not a civil case about money, money, money". "We're talking about all the man's tomorrows".

"This is where all the fancy lawyering can't get you around your own words", Steele said.

Steele, continuing to address defense statements, said a "romantic interlude" did not exist between Constand and Cosby.

Prosecutors say his prior use of Quaaludes shows that Cosby had knowledge of what he was doing when he gave her the pills.

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

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