(Jessica Kourkounis/Pool Photo via AP)

Cosby jury to decide: Serial rapist or con artist’s mark

Bill Cosby is at the courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Accompanied for the first time by his wife of more than 50 years, Bill Cosby walked into a courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Camille Cosby had been absent from the courtroom as prosecutors called a series of women to the stand who testified her husband drugged and sexually assaulted them, but she was by his side Tuesday for the trial’s conclusion.

The jury that will start deliberating Cosby’s fate has heard the comedian described over the past two weeks both as a “serial rapist” and a con artist’s victim.

They have seen a half-dozen accusers testify that the man once revered as “America’s Dad” had a sordid secret life that involved preying on women for his own sexual gratification. And they have heard from a witness who says his chief accuser talked about framing a high-profile person to score a big payday.

Now, seven men and five women who have been kept in a suburban Philadelphia hotel, away from family, friends and daily routines, will get to have their say in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

“You now have all of the evidence,” Judge Steven O’Neill told them after Cosby’s lawyers rested on Monday without calling the 80-year-old comedian to the stand. “Try to relax, so that you’re on your game tomorrow.”

Jurors could be in for a marathon.

Related: Topless protester charges at Bill Cosby as retrial begins

Before going off to deliberate, they will hear both sides rehash the case in lengthy closing arguments, and they will get O’Neill’s instructions in the law.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault — all stemming from Toronto native Andrea Constand’s allegations that he knocked her out with three pills he called “your friends” and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.

Each count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Cosby has said he gave Constand 1 1/2 tablets of the over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax before what he called a consensual sexual encounter.

The jury in Cosby’s first trial weighed the evidence for more than 52 hours over six days without reaching a verdict.

This time, both sides have given the retrial jury much more to consider.

Prosecutors were able to call five additional accusers who testified that Cosby also drugged and violated them — including one woman who asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

Cosby’s new defence team, led by Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, countered with a far more robust effort at stoking doubts about Constand’s credibility and raising questions about whether Cosby’s arrest was even legal.

The defence’s star witness was a former colleague of Constand who says Constand spoke of levelling false sexual assault accusations against a high-profile person for the purpose of filing a civil suit. Constand got a civil settlement of nearly $3.4 million from Cosby.

Both juries also heard from Cosby himself — not on the witness stand, but via an explosive deposition he gave in 2005 and 2006 as part of Constand’s civil suit against him. In it, Cosby acknowledged he gave the sedative quaaludes to women before sex in the 1970s.

Cosby’s lawyers devoted the last two days of their case to travel records they say prove he could not have been at his suburban Philadelphia home in January 2004. They argue that any encounter there with Constand would have happened earlier, outside the statute of limitations.

Cosby’s private jet records and travel itineraries produced by Cosby’s lawyers do not show any flights in or out of the Philadelphia area in January 2004, but they have large gaps — a total of 17 days that month in which Cosby was not travelling, performing or taping TV appearances.

District Attorney Kevin Steele noted that the records do not account for other ways Cosby could have gotten to Philadelphia.

“You can’t tell us whether he got on a commercial flight,” Steele said, questioning a defence aviation expert. “You can’t tell us whether he got on a train. You can’t tell us whether he got in a car and drove to Philadelphia.”

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

___

Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Defense witness Roslyn Yarbrough arrives to testify in actor and comedian Bill Cosby’s his sexual assault retrial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, April 23, 2018. (Jessica Kourkounis/Pool Photo via AP)

Just Posted

Allegations of ‘undue dealings’ raise ire at air-quality hearing

Evidence continues in proceedings contesting emissions permit for South Surrey galvanizing plant

Cloverdale’s newly named Henry Houston Scott Park opens

Park named for African-American settlers who came to Surrey in 1912

Sisters, sexual abuse and one Surrey family’s bond in new movie ‘Because We Are Girls’

Cloverdale’s Jeeti Pooni led effort to create the documentary, set to debut at festivals

Surrey Historical Society holds ‘memory social’ Sunday

Gathering will be a chance to offer, share stories

Drowning victim fondly remembered

Immigration consultant Jay Atienza Razon, who worked out of Newton, drowned in a kayaking accident March 29

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Two units damaged in Abbotsford apartment fire

Quick action from fire rescue service halted blaze from spreading beyond two damaged units

5 to start your day

Many in hospital after Aldergrove deck collapse, video showing pig abuse allegedly at Abbotsford farm and more

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Busy day for passengers on BC Ferries

First two sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay full Thursday morning

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Most Read