Jury Begins Cosby Deliberations as Defense Clings to Doubt

Bill Cosby walks toward the courtroom in the Montgomery County Courthouse where he is on trial for sexual assault. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) – Resting his entire defense on reasonable doubt, Bill Cosby’s attorney told jurors in closing arguments Monday that the sexual-assault case is no more than media hype.

“We’re not here for Andrea Constand,” defense attorney Brian McMonagle said of the comedian’s accuser in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

“We’re here because of them,” McMonagle said, pointing at the 40 or so reporters sitting in the courtroom, “and they are banging their drum.”

With his client turning 80 years old next month, McMonagle pleaded to the jury for sympathy. “We’re talking about all the man’s tomorrows,” he said.

Walking over to his client, McMonagle hearkened to the wholesome image Cosby maintained for decades.

“He taught us how to smile and how to love each other, no matter how different we are,” McMonagle said.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele enters the courtroom in the Norristown, Pennsylvania
Bill Cosby is on trial for sexual assault. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

District Attorney Kevin Steele unraveled that image in the government’s closing, recalling Cosby’s admission in prior sworn testimony that he had a history of giving sedatives to the young women he wanted to bed. “Seven prescriptions, never took them himself,” Steele shouted. “That shows knowledge of the effects something like this will have on someone.”

Using a large screen in the courtroom, Steele projected how Cosby characterized the drugs he gave Constand.

“I have three friends for you,” Cosby had said, according to a transcript of his 2005 deposition testimony, which police read to the jury last week. “To make you relax.”

Steele urged the jury to weigh Cosby’s own admissions closely.

“Who says that?” the prosecutor asked. “He put her out.”

Steele called it indisputable that Cosby interfered with  Constand’s ability to consent.

“Drugging someone and putting them in a position so you can get something is not romantic,” the prosecutor added. “It’s criminal.”

Steele also reminded the jury of the evidence that Cosby apologized on the phone when confronted about the assault by Constand’s mother.

“If he didn’t do anything wrong, why apologize?” Steele asked.

Quoting yet another of the comedian’s admissions, Steele reminded the jury that Cosby had called himself “a dirty old man.”

“Pure and simple,” Steele said. “This is about as straightforward as you will ever see in a sexual-crimes case.”

Joined at left by his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, Bill Cosby enters the Montgomery County courthouse on June 12 with his wife, Camille Cosby, for Day 6 of the actor’s sexual-assault trial. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

McMonagle meanwhile sought sympathy for Camille Cosby, the comedian’s wife, who sat in the front row of the courtroom with one of the couple’s four daughters.

The wife’s appearance this morning, on Day 6 of Cosby’s trial, marks her first after 18 months of pretrial proceedings.

“When you dance outside of your marriage you have to pay the band, and she deserved better,” McMonagle said, pointing at Camille.

Cosby’s 12-person jury, 10 of whom are white, have been sequestered for the trial, summoned 300 miles to the Philadelphia suburb from Pittsburgh, out in Allegheny County.

“If you hesitate at all,” McMonagle told the jury, “then you must honor your oath.” 

In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during a 2014 interview and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right)

Taking a crack at the credibility of Constand, the only one out of the dozens of Cosby accusers whose claims are not too old to prosecute, McMonagle highlighted the 13-year delay between the trial and the night that Constand claims to have been assaulted.

“In 2005 the DA put together a team of great detectives and they found Ms. Constand to be untruthful,” McMonagle said.

As the defense took pains to point out in cross-examining many of the prosecution’s witnesses, Constand’s testimony is inconsistent in some ways with what she told police in 2005. McMonagle told the jury that there is a simple explanation why.

“She was lying to law enforcement officers in 2005,” McMonagle said.

The inconsistencies began, McMonagle said, with Constand’s initial police report on Jan. 13, 2005.

Though she claims now that she was assaulted after dinner alone at the comedian’s Cheltenham home, she initially told police that the assault happened after they went out with others to a local restaurant.

Constand revised the date she claims to have been assaulted, and she recanted her initial claim that it marked the first time she had ever been alone with Cosby.

“The inconsistencies should make you hesitate,” McMonagle told the jury.     

District Attorney Steele cast the inconsistencies differently. “She bore something so personal, up on the witness stand,” Steele said, “just so you can look at her credibility. … It’s not easy.”

“She spent a lot more time trying to forget that night,” Steele added, “than trying to remember.”

Andrea Constand, at right, walks with her mother, Gianna Constand, in the Montgomery County Courthouse where attorneys are delivering closing arguments on June 12, 2017, in Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault trial. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

McMonagle noted that when Constand spoke to police on Jan. 22, 2005, she began adding information about drinking brandy and receiving gifts from Cosby. She also recalled that, months before the alleged assault, Cosby touched her leg suggestively.

“Why are we running from the truth of this relationship, from the truth of this case?” McMonagle asked.

“She didn’t want the detective to know they were romantic,” the attorney continued, his voice echoing through the courtroom.

District Attorney Steele blasted this notion in his closing argument, reminding the jury that Cosby chose the living room couch rather than one of the five bedrooms in the house he shared with his wife to get intimate with Constand.

“Come on,” Steele said, laughing. “The suggestion of… To allege this a relationship that is going to a different level doesn’t make any sense!”  

District Attorney Steele blasted this notion in his closing argument, reminding the jury that Cosby chose the living room couch rather than one of the five bedrooms in the house he shared with his wife to get intimate with Constand.

Steele also emphasized the power Cosby wielded over Constand in 2004 as a celebrity and mentor, 35 years her senior.

During a break in closing arguments for the Bill Cosby sexual-assault case on June 12, 2017, accuser Andrea Constand, left, leaves the Montgomery County courtroom. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Reminding the jury of the nearly nine hours of witness testimony Constand gave in court, Steele noted that she never referred to Cosby by his first name.

It was always “Mr. Cosby,” Steele said. 

“You must convict,” Steele urged, adding that sympathy for the aging Cosby has no place in the equation.

“There is one conclusion, the defendant is guilty of all three charges,” Steele said. “That will be justice.”

McMonagle meanwhile called it a “stone-cold lie” by Constand when asked if she tried to reach Cosby in the months after the incident.

As shown by phone records, which McMonagle projected onto a large screen in the courtroom, there were 72 calls total between Constand and Cosby in this period.

“You don’t talk to a trustee for 49 minutes, that’s how long you talk to a lover,” McMonagle shouted.

“They looked at this in 2005, and this case was over,” McMonagle added.

As compared with the revisions in Constand’s case, McMonagle said his client has been consistent from Day 1 with his claim that the relationship was consensual.

District Attorney Steele undermined this position, however, by noting that Cosby revised how many pills he gave Constand. First it was one and a half, and later it was two. Cosby also made a telling claim in his deposition, Steele said, when asked if he ever had sexual intercourse with Constand. “Never asleep or awake,” Cosby had claimed.

Simply put, the prosecutor argued, it is against the law to have sex with a women who is asleep. “He took that choice away from Andrea Constand because of what he wanted,” Steele said.

McMonagle noted that Cosby was open with police about giving Benadryl to Constand at his home. He denied, however, that the pills appeared to addle her.

“Paralyzed from Benadryl,” his attorney scoffed Monday. 

Defense attorneys Fortunato Perri Jr., left, and Brian McMonagle talk after their June 12, 2017, closing arguments in the Bill Cosby trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

With Cosby and Constand both admitting that he administered pills and then penetrated Constand digitally, District Attorney Steele said the crux of the case is about consent.

“Andrea’s power to appraise or control her conduct was substantially impaired due to pills,” a message to the jury on the projector said.

Bringing up Constand’s testimony about Cosby trying to unbutton her pants at a previous encounter, McMonagle questioned why she continued to spend time with the comedian — including going up to the Fox Woods casino in Connecticut with him.

“After a man put his hands down your pants, why on earth would you go to Fox Woods Casino,” McMonagle asked. 

McMonagle also recalled Constand’s testimony that, after she had been assaulted, she brought Cosby bath salts as a gift.

“We need to stop this,” McMonagle said. “It makes no sense.”  

Throughout the defense’s closing, Constand nervously chewed gum in the courtroom gallery, her eyes focused on the jury.

“If you got more questions than you got answers, you got reasonable doubt,” McMonagle added.

Attorney Gloria Allred speaks with a journalist as she walks to the courtroom for Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 6, 2017. (Pool photo by Matt Rourke/AP via Courthouse News Service)

The attorney followed with several other folksy approaches, including a reference to hockey star Sid Crosby. “If you don’t see a goal, but Sid throws his hand up, and everyone’s cheering,” McMonagle said. “You know a goal happened. … That is circumstantial evidence.”

“When you left Pittsburgh,” the attorney also said, “you didn’t leave you common sense. Stop this!”

In addition to Constand, the jury heard testimony from another woman who claims that Cosby had sex with her after incapacitating her with pills.

McMonagle said this woman was inconsistent as well.

Kelly Johnson “had selective amnesia when I asked her question, but never for them,” McMonagle said, pointing at the prosecution’s table. 

“When you tell lies, it all blows up in the light of day, and you’re here to be that light,” McMonagle added.

McMonagle also accused one of the state’s expert witnesses of bias, bringing up comments about the case posted to Facebook by Veronique Valliere, a forensic psychologist who treats victims of sexual assault victims.

“I’m surprised it didn’t jump,” McMonagle said of the Bible on which Valliere swore her oath.

 

EARLIER REPORTING:
Closing arguments kicked off Monday after Cosby confirmed that he would not take the stand. Speaking in court for the first time this morning, Cosby was placed under oath and noted that his choice not to testify on his own behalf is one made of sound mind and with proper legal instruction.

The defense rested after recalling Richard Schaffer, a sergeant with the Cheltenham Police Department who testified last week for the prosecution.

Schaffer had been the responding officer in 2005 when Andrea Constand reported that Cosby had drugged and assaulted her a year earlier at his Philadelphia-area home.

The sergeant had been glib under cross-examination Thursday by defense attorney McMonagle, saying Cosby proved to be a “real gentleman” in claiming that he stopped whenever Constand asked him to.

Richard Schaffer, a Cheltenham police sergeant who testified in the sexual-assault case against Bill Cosby, leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 12, 2017. (Pool photo via Courthouse News Service by DAVID MAIALETTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

On Monday, McMonagle spent just five minutes asking Schaffer what he knew about Cosby’s vision issues during the 2005 investigation.

Insisting that Cosby is now mostly blind and suffering from memory loss, the defense has long maintained that their client’s long road to trial has been prejudicial.

Cosby met Constand at Temple University where Constand worked as director of operations for the women’s basketball team and he was a trustee.

The 79-year-old faces three counts of aggravated sexual assault, each of which carries a possible 10-year prison term. Before closing arguments, Judge Steven O’Neill denied a motion for acquittal by McMonagle as well the defense’s request to call Marguerite Jackson as a witness.

Jackson is reportedly a friend of Constand, but the court found her testimony barred on the basis of hearsay. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: