Friday, 18 August, 2017

Bill Cosby jury drills down on his deposition testimony

162632 full Bill Cosby jury drills down on his deposition testimony
Lamar Ellis | 14 June, 2017, 05:54

The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial will resume deliberations on Tuesday.

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.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a charge that carries up to 10 years in prison.

Cosby was back in court to await the verdict, dressed in a dark suit and tie, at Montgomery County Court in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

The jury returned to the Montgomery County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Tuesday, after deliberating for four hours Monday following closing arguments on the sixth day of the trial.

In closing statements, they portrayed the actor as a sexual predator who deliberately drugged Constand so she would be unable to resist.

Cosby did not take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.

Earlier in the day, Brian McMonagle, one of Cosby's lawyers, highlighted Constand's alleged inconsistencies and those of Kelly Johnson, another accuser who testified on Constand's behalf.

The prosecution leaned on Cosby's words in the 2005 deposition, in which he admitted obtaining sedatives with a view to having sex. It seems like it'd be a pretty big story if the dozens and dozens of women who have accused Bill Cosby are all lying as part of a massive conspiracy dragging Cosby down because he told black people to pull their trousers up.

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. They began deliberations on Monday and have been sequestered at a hotel for the trial's duration, a relatively rare occurrence in the USA criminal justice system.

Wyatt released the statement just moments after jurors asked the judge to define the phrase "without her knowledge" as it applies to one count of aggravated indecent assault while delivering an intoxicant.

"You know why we're here", McMonagle said, gesturing to two Cosby accusers in the trial audience.

McMonagle used a big screen to show jurors how Constand's story evolved in her interviews with police, noting that she was off by two months on the date of the alleged assault and inaccurately told police she had never been alone with Cosby before. Although Cosby has not been convicted of sexual assault, it does not at all give anyone a right to attack his accuser, nor accuse her of lying or facilitating her own assault.

Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill also read portions of the deposition in which Cosby said he claimed he had a prior sexual encounter with Constand.

Andrea Constand says she was drugged and molested.

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

Camille Cosby sat stoically in the first row behind her husband of 53 years at the defence table, about 30 feet from Constand.

Constand told police she was semi-conscious as he touched her breast and genitals.

Cosby had given the deposition as part of a lawsuit filed by Constand that was later settled for an undisclosed sum. He denounced the "beat of the drum" accusations against Cosby in the media, which have snowballed since late 2014. His depositions were graphic, describing "necking" "petting" and their "make out" sessions. There is too much of everything here, too many women reciting the same story (and instead of showing consistency, I think it could signal the mob effect.) Too many people willing to pull down a man who, because he happened to say the taboo things that shamed young black men for living down to expectations, is considered a traitor to the race.

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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