Monday 21 May 2018

Cosby opts not to give evidence in sex trial as defence rests

Closing arguments will be held on Tuesday in the case that pits the TV star against a woman who says he drugged then sexually assaulted her.

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby

By Michael R Sisak

Bill Cosby chose not to give evidence in his sexual assault retrial as his lawyers rested their case on Monday, setting the stage for closing arguments and jury deliberations.

“You now have all of the evidence,” Judge Steven O’Neill told jurors, sending them back to their hotel after an abbreviated day of evidence. “Try to relax, so that you’re on your game tomorrow.”

Closing arguments will be held on Tuesday in the case that pits the Cosby Show star once known as America’s Dad against a woman who says he drugged her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, then sexually assaulted her while she was unable to resist.

Cosby, 80, did not take the stand at his first trial either. That one ended in a mistrial after jurors were deadlocked on three related counts of aggravated indecent assault.

If convicted, Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each count.

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Cosby's chief accuser Andrea Constand

Jurors heard evidence from 25 witnesses over the course of about two weeks.

Chief accuser Andrea Constand told her story to the jury, as did five other women who say Cosby drugged and assaulted them too.

Jurors heard from Cosby in the form of an explosive deposition he gave in 2005 and 2006 as part of Ms Constand’s civil suit against him.

In it, Cosby acknowledged he gave the sedative quaaludes to women before sex in the 1970s.

Cosby has said he gave a cold and allergy medicine to Ms Constand to help her relax before what he called a consensual sexual encounter.

The star defence witness was a former colleague of Ms Constand who says she spoke of levelling false sexual assault accusations against a high-profile person for the purpose of filing a civil suit.

She got a civil settlement of nearly 3.4 million dollars from Cosby.

As the trial wound down on Monday, prosecutors highlighted gaps in Cosby’s travel records.

His lawyers had introduced the records in an attempt to show he could not have been at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004, the month Ms Constand alleges he drugged and sexually molested her there.

But prosecutors pointed out multiple stretches of time that month when Cosby was not aboard his private jet or performing around the country, and district attorney Kevin Steele noted in court on Monday that the records reflect only jet travel, not other modes of transport.

The date of Cosby’s encounter with Ms Constand is important because of when he was charged. Prosecutors reopened the case in 2015, and he was charged late that year — just before the 12-year statute of limitations was set to expire.

Press Association

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