Culture

The charges against Bill Cosby, and sentences they carry

The charges against Bill Cosby, and sentences they carry”

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Bill 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.

For proof Bill Cosby sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, one need look no further than the comedian's own words, Montgomery County prosecutors say.

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.

The sequestered jury - seven men and five women from the Pittsburgh area - betrayed little about their leanings during six days of testimony that drew to an explosive finish Monday afternoon with four hours of fiery closing arguments from both sides.

They asked if could hear what Cosby said he told accuser Andrea Constand when he gave her pills before engaging in sexual contact.

Judge Steven O'Neill said the jury had the written charge in its possession and that he is not permitted to define the charges any further.

ALLYN: Cosby's attorney, Brian McMonagle, gave a grandstanding closing argument. "He says she didn't say yes", county District Attorney Kevin Steele argued Monday.

He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each one punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.

Detective Richard Schaffer was one of 12 witnesses who testified during the prosecution case. Cosby's lawyers haven't denied that the interaction in question occurred, but they say it was consensual. That is evidenced, he said, by how Cosby left Constand disheveled on a couch after the incident.

Sworn in briefly outside the presence of the jury, Cosby told O'Neill that he did not intend to testify. "I said 'I trust you.' I took the pills and I swallowed the pills down". Never, was she incapacitated, he told the jurors, who were listening attentively. Cosby says any contact was consensual. Clothes up around her?

"I felt really humiliated and I was really confused", she said through tears. Camille Cosby isn't in the courtroom for that.

Judge Steven O'Neill asked Cosby a series of questions created to make sure he was aware of his right to testify and wasn't pressured into deciding against it.

When Ms Constand's mother called to confront Mr Cosby about a year after the incident, he said, the defendant's apology, and his offer to pay for her schooling, therapy and a trip to Florida, were evidence that he knew he had done something wrong. They cast him as an unfaithful husband - but not a criminal.

McMonagle's tone became tinged with anger as he stressed Constand's misstatements to police about the day of the assault.

He pointed out that Constand telephoned Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault. However, Constand admitted under oath that she had been alone with him before, at his hotel room at the Foxwoods casino, and phone records showed that the two had made 72 calls to each other afterward.

"I was mistaken", she said.

As jurors watched Steele closely, Cosby faced forward away from the prosecutor and the jury.

He noted Cosby's familiarity with the effects of Quaaludes - which he had previously said he had administered to women he wanted to have sex with, according to his 2005 civil deposition - as well as Benadryl, which he claimed he gave to Constand. Constand testified the pills left her disoriented and unable to resist him. As NPR reported last week, Constand testified, telling her story in public for the first time.

Constand initially settled the case with a civil suit in 2006, having waited a year to report the alleged assault to the police. His admissions in that deposition led Montgomery County prosecutors to file charges against him.

McMonagle, pounding the defense table, suggested to jurors that Cosby was the victim of a drumbeat of accusations by women who wanted to appear on television shows. O'Neill asked Cosby if he discussed the issue with his attorneys and if he understood there is no obligation to testify, as the burden to prove the charges of aggravated indecent sexual assault case lies exclusively with the prosecutors.

The defense's main goal this past week has been to attack the credibility of Constand and the William Morris assistant, Kelly Johnson.



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