Culture

Cosby set to begin defense at sexual assault trial

Cosby set to begin defense at sexual assault trial”

Comedian Bill Cosby (R) departs the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 12, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

The fate of comedian Bill Cosby is now in the hands of the jury after both sides wrapped up their cases Monday in his sexual assault trial near Philadelphia. Having failed to reach a decision, the men and women of the jury retired for the night and will reconvene this morning.

Dozens of women have made similar accusations against Cosby, 79, although only Constand has accused him of a crime that allegedly took place recently enough to allow for prosecution. He says what they did was consensual.

In 2015, Steele cited the Cosby deposition as new evidence in reopening the long-abandoned case against Cosby stemming from the Constand accusation. It was then that a new prosecutor chose to charge him.

The panel will reconvene to continue deliberations tomorrow. Jurors conceded during jury selection that they were aware of the claims. Although Constand is one of more than 60 women who have come forward accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting them throughout his career, Constand's case is the only one that did not fall within the statute of limitations for Pennsylvania state law.

A verdict in the case is expected quickly, with deliberations beginning on Monday following the prosecution's closing statements.

They asked the judge to repeat two different parts of Cosby's statements to authorities, asked the court to define the phrase "without her knowledge" in one of the charges, and asked to hear repeat testimony from the Canadian detective who interviewed Constand.

The jury also heard quotes during the trial from Cosby's deposition about his use of Quaaludes in the 1970s.

Jurors got the case late Monday afternoon. But he too raised his voice at times during his more than two-hour closing argument. "You don't put her in a bedroom for this...you put her on a sofa, you do what you do to her, and then you leave her", he said, pleading with the jury.

"Who says that?" asked Steele, who proceeded to critique the comedian's attempts to pay off Constand after he got anxious that she may go public.

"I went upstairs and into my pack, broke one in half and took another half and brought them down and said to her 'Your friends, I have three friends for you to make you relax, '" Cosby said.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done. He also lashed out at the press, reportedly blaming them for the continuous resurfacing of the trial.

Defense attorneys argued that the sexual contact was part of a consenting relationship between Cosby and Constand.

The comedian could face up to a decade in prison if convicted.

Cosby was not called to the stand to give his testimony by the defense.

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.

Cosby said before the trial that he did not plan to testify because of what could happen on cross-examination. Last week, police detectives read aloud his statements to police in 2005 and in his civil deposition in 2006 responding to the allegations. Steele also reminded jurors about a telephone conversation in which Cosby apologized to Constand's mother and described himself as a "sick man". Cosby has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was targeted because of his fame and success and that his sexual encounter with Costand was consensual.

Cosby lowered and shook his head in the courtroom as she spoke.

The case will turn largely on how credible the panel finds Ms Constand, who testified that in a visit to Mr Cosby's home near Philadelphia, he gave her pills that he said were herbal, but that left her immobile and drifting in and out of consciousness, and sexually assaulted her. The prosecution was scheduled to give its closing after a lunch break.



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