Cosby Trial: Day 6

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[Updated 9:30 p.m.] A jury failed to reach a verdict Monday night after spending nearly four hours deliberating the sexual assault case against entertainment icon Bill Cosby. Jurors will resume their work Tuesday morning.

 

[Updated 9:30 p.m.]

A jury failed to reach a verdict Monday night after spending nearly four hours deliberating the sexual assault case against entertainment icon Bill Cosby. Tuesday morning jurors will resume weighing whether he drugged and molested a woman more than 13 years ago or whether she is lying and their encounter was consensual.

Jurors began deliberating about 5:30 p.m. Monday after the six-day trial ended. Shortly before 9:30 p.m., the judge sent them back to their hotel for the evening. 

Regardless of what they decide, though, the criminal case has further damaged the reputation of a man who was once one of America’s most beloved celebrities.

About 8:15 p.m., while the jury deliberated, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt addressed reporters outside the Montgomery County courthouse and said Cosby was the victim of an unfair prosecution motivated by politics. “This case should have been thrown out,’’ Wyatt said.

Wyatt also referenced Cosby’s claim in a 2005 deposition that he thought he had given chief accuser Andrea Constand the cold and allergy medication Benadryl before their sexual encounter. Side effects of the over-the-counter drug include drowsiness and dizziness, but Wyatt derided the notion that – if Benadryl is what Cosby gave Constand – it could have left her disoriented.

Constand testified that he offered three little blue pills and wine to help her relax, then felt dizzy and was seeing double. She testified she was “jolted awake” and felt Cosby groping her breasts under her shirt, and felt his hand moving inside her vagina and place her hand on his penis before she told him to stop.

“We all have taken Benadryl,’’ Wyatt said. “My dog got into [an] ant bed. Cosmo, he’s a Lakeland Terrier. I gave him one half-tablet of Benadryl. He’s a terrier and he kept going … You can’t tell me Benadryl makes your legs feel limp, and you forget, and blurry vision. That doesn’t happen with Benadryl.”

‘Said one thing yesterday, another thing today’

The prosecution laid out its case over five days last week, but on Monday the defense called just one witness, a Cheltenham Township detective who spent about 10 minutes on the stand and also testified for the state.

Richard Schaffer’s testimony on behalf of Cosby was seemingly designed to remind jurors that Constand went to an out-of-state casino with Cosby and that police knew he had vision problems in 2005, when he was first interviewed by Pennsylvania authorities.

Before Schaffer testified, Judge Steven T. O’Neill rejected a bid by Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle to acquit the comic and acting legend.

“They just simply haven’t … established that that event occurs within the 12-year statute of limitations,” McMonagle said. The lawyer told the judge he was basing his argument on Constand’s uncertainty about the exact date of the alleged assault.

Also Monday, Cosby waived his right to testify in his own defense, even though his spokesman had suggested Friday he might take the stand. Cosby was accompanied to court Monday by his wife Camille. She did not attend the trial last week, and the couple’s four daughters never showed up.

Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each of which could bring him five to 10 years in prison. He has said that the sexual encounter with Constand at his Cheltenham mansion was consensual.

Constand, a Toronto resident and former professional basketball player, is one of about 60 women who have publicly accused Cosby in recent years of molesting them, often after incapacitating them with pills. But only Montgomery County brought charges against Cosby, in large part because the statute of limitations had expired in the jurisdictions where other assaults allegedly occurred. Constand settled a civil lawsuit against Cosby, who has also been sued by several other women.

After the defense rested, attorneys for both sides made their closing arguments to the jury, which is from Allegheny County — about 300 miles from the trial in Norristown.

McMonagle addressed jurors first, stressing that Cosby and Constand were romantically involved, that her accounts of being drugged and molested by him in January 2004 were riddled with inconsistencies, and that she maintained contact with him afterward, calling him 53 times.

“She keeps calling,” McMonagle said. “She’s been sexually assaulted, ladies and gentleman.”

One of those calls, he points out, lasted for 49 minutes.

“I’d love to sit here quiet for 49 minutes, so you can see how long they were talking on the phone,” McMonagle said. “This isn’t talking to a trustee; this is talking to a lover.”

Constand was the former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University, where Cosby is a famous alumnus, booster, and former board of trustees member.

Constand’s changing statements to police were the centerpiece of McMonagle’s closing arguments — inconsistencies Cosby hopes will insert enough doubt into the minds of jurors that some of them will question whether Constand’s account can be trusted at all.

“She said one thing yesterday, another thing today. What is she going to say tomorrow?” McMonagle said.

Constand’s yearlong reporting delay and her conflicting statements about the exact date of the alleged assault makes her story sketchy, he argued.

“She’d remember it the next morning, wouldn’t she? She’d remember it the next day, the next 365 days, if there was a sexual assault in this case,” he said.

Reading excerpts of such reports, McMonagle clicked through a slides on the courtroom projector with the headings like “Constand inconsistent statements.”

At another point, he drummed loudly with his hands on the counsel table while talking about second accuser Kelly Johnson, saying she had beat the drum about Cosby with a press conference and a “media tour.” Johnson, who once worked with Cosby’s talent agency William Morris in Los Angeles, testified that Cosby drugged and molested her at a Bel Air hotel in 1996.

At the start and end of his closing arguments, McMonagle pulled up a definition of reasonable doubt on the projector, with these words highlighted: “a doubt that would cause a reasonably careful and sensible person to hesitate.”

He added: “If we are not sure as sure can be at the end of the trial, then your verdict must be not guilty, and that’s your oath.”

He also told the jury: “When you left Pittsburgh, you didn’t leave your common sense. Stop this!”

McMonagle added: “If you don’t like him, or you do, or he’s the worst comedian in the world, I don’t care. This ain’t right. This ain’t right.”

‘He’s administering an intoxicant’

The state had called 12 witnesses last week, with their case leaning heavily on the testimony of the Constand and her mother Gianna.

Cosntand, who said she saw Cosby as a mentor, testified for more than seven hours, saying she felt “paralyzed” after taking three little pills that Cosby offered her to relax. She steadfastly defended herself as defense attorneys aggressively tried to discredit her.

Jurors heard a recording of a 2005 call from Cosby that Gianna Constand secretly taped, in which he apologized — and offered to pay for her graduate-school tuition, so long as she maintained good grades.

Gianna Constand sobbed on the witness stand as she recounted how her daughter endured nightmares, twitching and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after Cosby’s alleged assault.

During the two-hour phone call, Cosby refused to tell her what pills he gave her daughter.

“We had covered many things about his personal life; he admitted he was a sick man,” Gianna Constand said, prompting Cosby to shake his head at the defense table. “He said: ‘I feel bad telling you this … I sound like a perverted person.'”

On Monday, prosecutor Kevin Steele laid out the the precise legal definition of crimes leveled at Cosby and attempting to marry them to the facts of the case.

Steele’s methodical, didactic closing argument stood in stark contrast to McMonagle’s bombastic and emotional presentation.

The assistant district attorney focused on Cosby’s sworn statements in a 2005 deposition about giving Constand pills while not telling her what they are. Cosby did that because “because he’s administering an intoxicant,” Steele said, telling jurors that is the basis for one of the counts against the comedian and actor.

Cosby answered questions in a deposition after Constand filed a civil lawsuit. Attempting to show Cosby’s intent and the knowledge to commit indecent assault, Steele frequently brought up the deposition.

The prosecutor noted that he admitted to previously obtaining Quaaludes, a sedative, to give young women with whom he wanted to have sex.

“Seven prescriptions [for Quaaludes]. Never took ’em himself,” Steele said.

Steele also attempted to counter the defense argument that Cosby and Constand, both married, were in an illicit romance.

“They tried to tell you that this is romantic,” he said. “I’d be insulted by that. It’s not romantic — it’s criminal.”

He decried the suggestion that Constand’s story was unreliable.

“There are some things in this case that should be fuzzy,” said Steele. “Because he drugged her to do this.”

Referring to Costand’s allegation that, when Cosby gave her three little blue pills, he called them “three friends” that would help her relax, Steele asked jurors: “Who says something like that, that isn’t trying to push it on somebody?”

As for the facts of the alleged assault itself, Cosby’s own sworn statements support the timeline and events, said Steele.

“All the fancy lawyering you have can’t get you around your own words,” he said.

Cosby, head down, shook it slowly from side to side during parts of Steele’s address to the jury.

Accusers, defenders outside court

Two women who said Cosby attacked them also spoke out Monday outside the courthouse

Victoria Valentino, a former Playboy Playmate of the Month who says Cosby raped her in 1969, criticized McMonagle. “How does he sleep at night? He’s such an aggressive a-hole, that frankly, if I were a juror, I would vote guilty based just on his aggressive, antagonistic behavior. He’s a really great actor, like his boss.”

Linda Kirkpatrick, who has accused Cosby of spiking her drink and trying to force himself on her in 1981 after they played in a tennis tournament in Las Vegas, said she was at the courthouse to stand in solidarity with other victims.

“I stand in truth. We’re all here in truth,” Kirkpatrick said. “Is there a forgotten moment, or a nuance, or a he-said, she-said” where the victim might be uncertain about a detail? “Yes, but I’m here in truth. I know my truth, and I support any woman that steps forward in her truth.”

Gloria Allred, who represents witness Kelly Johnson, said the tactics employed by Cosby’s legal team are typical.

Of course, the defense always wants to put everyone else on trial, the accusers of Mr. Cosby, everybody on trial except their own client, William Cosby,” Allred said.

“And he is the only one who is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. So [McMonagle] doesn’t want us to see the forest. He only wants us to see the trees … to raise reasonable doubt.”

Cosby spokesman Wyatt, whose suggestion Friday that he might testify proved false, praised McMonagle, however, and said two of O.J. Simpson’s late attorneys would be proud of the defense lawyer.

“I’m pretty sure that Johnnie Cochran and Robert Kardashian are looking down smiling and saying, we left the legal world in good hands today,” Wyatt said.

McMonagle, he said, showed that Constand and Johnson’s attorney Allred “took an opportunity and seized up on it to distort this man, distort his legacy and his credibility. But it’s not going to work. The jurors, I believe, see this. Brian laid it out perfectly.”

Asked why Cosby himself did not testify, Wyatt responded: “Why should he testify? He did it. He testified every day. His deposition was out there. He was truthful … He didn’t have anything to hide, and that’s the important thing. He did not hide anything.”

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