Will Cosby testify at sex assault trial? Lawyers remain mum

Carla Harmon
June 17, 2017

The jury asked about the phrasing Tuesday morning, but Judge Steven O'Neill said he could not define it for them. It was read to them by the judge.

The jury, which is set to enter its fifth hour of deliberations, went straight to the heart of the case with its first question Monday night: Can we hear again what Cosby said he told accuser Andrea Constand when he gave her pills before engaging in sexual contact?

Bill Cosby walks from the Montgomery County Courthouse after jurors in Mr Cosby's sexual assault trial ended first day deliberations without reaching a verdict in Norristown, Pennsylvania, US, on Monday.

If found guilty, Cosby could go to prison for the rest of his life.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said Cosby and Ms Constand were lovers who had enjoyed secret "romantic interludes", insisting the 2004 encounter was consensual.

McMonagle acknowledged Camille Cosby's presence while discussing Cosby's infidelities and how it left him open to false accusations and extortion attempts."You're vulnerable", McMonagle said.

"Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. He says she didn't say yes", county District Attorney Kevin Steele argued Monday.

Cosby's lawyers put on a case consisting of just one witness and six minutes of testimony earlier Monday before resting their case, calling the detective who led the 2005 investigation.

The defense closed by accusing Constand of lying about an affair with Cosby and concocting the allegations to take advantage of the wealthy, older star.

The 79-year-old pioneering black comedian faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine, in one of America's biggest celebrity trials in years.

McMonagle, in his closing argument, tried to sow doubt about Constand's story.

The defense has focused on inconsistencies in Constand's statements about certain details of the alleged assault and pointed out that she remained in contact with Cosby for months after the night in question.

Last week, accuser Andrea Constand testified that Cosby drugged and molested her in 2004 at his gated estate near Philadelphia.

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

Phone records showed she made no such call in January, he said, and instead show she only called Cosby's phone numbers in NY.

During his closing argument, McMonagle flipped between stage-whispered intimacy and earsplitting verbal explosions - as he ran through a long list of possible culprits he says are responsible for landing his client at the center of one of the most high-profile criminal cases in recent American history.

Once McMonagle finished, prosecutor Steele began his impassioned closing argument.

During the defense closing argument, Camille Cosby and Constand sat in front rows in the courtroom, only feet apart.

Constand, 44, testified last week that Cosby gave her three blue pills and then sexually assaulted her as she lay paralyzed and half-conscious.

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

She filed a police complaint in January 2005 after moving back home to the Toronto area, and then sued Cosby in March 2005 when the local prosecutor decided not to charge him. Authorities had declined to charge Cosby when she first came forward in 2005.

The fate of famed entertainer Bill Cosby is in the hands of the jury on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in his Cheltenham home.

The defence case consisted of a six-minute appearance by a detective, seemingly created to remind jurors that Andrea Constand had visited with Cosby at an out-of-state casino and that police knew he had vision problems even then.

"We're here because of them", he said, pointing to the benches of reporters covering the trial. Steele also reminded jurors about a telephone conversation in which Cosby apologized to Constand's mother and described himself as a "sick man".

"All the fancy lawyering you have can't get you around your own words", Steele said.

"There are some things in this case that should be fuzzy. Why?" That's unusual, said former prosecutor Dennis McAndrews.

Prosecutors said that Cosby, at his deposition more than a decade ago, admitted to giving Constand pills (Cosby said it was Benadryl) and touching her sexually.

Prosecutors suggest Cosby gave her something stronger.

The jury got the case late Monday afternoon, on the sixth day of the trial.

In his closing statement, McMonagle told jurors that Constand had changed her story after speaking with attorneys who specialize in sexual assault cases.

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