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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cosby Jury Begins Deliberations After Explosive Arguments

On the eve of deliberations Wednesday, the jury in the Bill Cosby sexual-assault trial heard a prosecutor call out the comedian for smirking about the allegations.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) - On the eve of deliberations Wednesday, the jury in the Bill Cosby sexual-assault trial heard a prosecutor call out the comedian for smirking about the allegations.

“This is his con, and he’s laughing like it’s funny, but there’s nothing funny about stripping a woman of her decency,” Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden said. “There’s nothing funny about that, Mr. Cosby.”

Over the past 12 days of trial, Cosby’s defense has hinged on painting the accuser, Andrea Constand, as a con artist who manipulated a celebrity 35 years her senior to exact a big payday.

Prosecutor Feden turned that language around on the defendant, however, as closing statements stretched for 5 1/2 hours on Tuesday.

"Yes, you did hear about a con," Feden said, then signaling toward the 80-year-old Cosby. "The perpetrator of that con is this man, sitting right here.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, with each count carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Montgomery County prosecutors elected to retry Cosby after their first effort last year ended in a mistrial.

In addition to being more than twice as long, this year’s trial featured a bevy of new witnesses, including five other women who claimed that Cosby drugged and molested them decades earlier.

Constand claims that she had looked up to Cosby as a mentor while working as an administrator with the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee.

She claims he drugged her one night at his home in Cheltenham in January 2004, assaulting her while she was unable to fend him off.

While the prosecution labeled Cosby a "serial predator," his defense told the jury Tuesday to take a hard look at the government’s "flimsy, silly, ridiculous evidence.

Quoting the $3.4 million that Cosby paid Constand to settle a civil suit over the same allegations in 2006, defense attorney Tom Mesereau called the payout “one of the biggest highway robberies of all time."

Mesereau, who famously won the acquittal of Michael Jackson in a 2005 child-molestation case, called Constant “a true pathological liar.”

For the first time in the trial, Cosby was accompanied to the courtroom Tuesday by his wife of 54 years, Camille Cosby. Though she was seen smiling with her husband while they entered the courthouse, she wore oversized sun glasses inside the courtroom itself, obscuring any reaction she may have had to the caustic closing arguments.

While Cosby did not take the stand, portions of his deposition from Constand’s civil suit were read to the jury during the prosecution’s case. He claimed that his sexual encounter with Constand was consensual, and that the pills he gave her were Benadryl.

The jury also heard an admission, however, from Cosby that he used to keep quaaludes around in the 1970s so he could give them to women before having sex with them. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to accuse Cosby of assault, but Constand is the only accuser whose claims are not too old to prosecute.

Another part of Cosby’s defense has focused on the timeline, saying Cosby’s travel records show that the alleged assault could not have happened when Constand says it did. If it happened earlier, it would be barred by the statute of limitations.

The jury of seven men and five women are all Montgomery County residents. In last year’s trial, they were sequestered from Allegheny County and deadlocked after more than 52 hours of deliberations over the course of six days.

In addition to the five other Cosby accusers called to the witness stand, whom Mesereau called “irrelevant,” the jury heard testimony from a former colleague of Constand’s at Temple.

Marguerite “Margo” Jackson claimed that Constand confided in her in February 2005 about a plan to shakedown a celebrity with bogus assault claims. Prosecutor Stewart Ryan labeled this account “fictional” on Tuesday, but Cosby’s defense said Constand’s civil suit prove otherwise.

"He thought he was paying for peace,” Mesereau said. “He didn’t get it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Categories / Criminal, Entertainment, Trials

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