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Jury begins deliberations in Cosby trial

By Final Call News | Last updated: Jun 14, 2017 - 11:18:02 AM

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Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., June 5. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

NORRISTOWN, Penn.—At presstime, the jury in the sexual assault trial of entertainer Bill Cosby was expected to soon began deliberationsAfter several days of graphic testimony, the prosecution rested and the defense began its case June 12 but rested in approximately six minutes after calling one witness, Detective Richard Schaffer. Mr. Cosby told the judge he would not testify in his defense. The jury which includes one Black man and one Black woman, began deliberating the evening of June. 12.

Mr. Cosby, 79 arrived at court with his wife of 53 years, Camille by his side. It was her first day present at her husband’s trial. The famed comedian and philanthropist is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, 44, in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. Mr.  Cosby stated their encounter was consensual and stated he gave her a Benadryl.

The defense’s case followed a riveting week from the prosecution which saw Ms. Constand take the stand. The defense rested June 9 after calling 12 witnesses over 5 days.

The last day of the defense’s case included presenting a 2005 testimony by Mr. Cosby about giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. In the deposition, which became public nearly two years ago, Mr. Cosby said he gave Ms. Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl. Prosecutors have suggested he gave her something stronger— perhaps Quaaludes, a highly popular party drug in the 1970s that was banned in the U.S. in 1982. The final prosecution witness, toxicologist Dr. Timothy Rohrig, testified that wooziness and other effects Ms. Constand described could have been caused by Benadryl or Quaaludes.

The day before the jury learned from a police interview that Mr. Cosby believed he had been in a “romantic relationship” with Ms. Constand. In a transcript read in court, the comedian said, “I never intended to have sexual intercourse with Andrea.”

He said he was content with the “petting” and touching the two had taken part in; on one occasion, when he was kissing her breasts, she said stop and he immediately complied.

“My impression is she didn’t want to go that far,” Mr. Cosby said, according to the police report. “It wasn’t an angry stop. It wasn’t hostile. She didn’t push me away, she said stop and I stopped.”

The details were provided in court during the testimony of prosecution witness Mr. Schaffer, a Cheltenham Township, Pa. County police sergeant, who had been in the courtroom throughout earlier testimony by Ms. Constand and others.

During an interview 12 years ago in New York at Cosby’s lawyers’ office, the comedian told Sargent Schaffer and two other investigators that he and Ms. Constand never experienced penetration.

He said he was attracted to Ms. Constand the first time he met her and the two discussed her personal life, including a makeover and how her “butt” looked.

He purchased a $250 hair dryer and encouraged her to change her hairstyle, Mr. Cosby said.

Earlier testimony by Gianna Constand, the accuser’s mother, suggested that Mr. Cosby tried to buy the family’s silence by offering to pay for graduate school.

While the elder Constand testified that Cosby admitted that he was a “sick man” and was trying to find a way around the matter, Mr. Cosby said he feared extortion by the family.

Mr. Cosby contacted his lawyers to try and reach a deal in which he’d pay for her to go to graduate school and pursue a career in sports broadcasting or another field of her choice so long as she maintained a 3.0 grade point average, Mr. Cosby said according to the police report.

“The reason I called [my attorney Marty] Singer,” Mr. Cosby told the police in 2005 of his now-former attorney, “is that I didn’t trust the mother.”

Mr. Cosby told police that he never told Ms. Constand or her family what the pills really were, despite the fact they requested the name of the medication later on.

Ms. Constand has claimed that after taking the pills, she passed out. She regained consciousness as Mr. Cosby was sexually assaulting her, she said.

Sargent Shaffer told prosecutors that Cosby had a bag brought to the Manhattan law office and that it contained a number of pill bottles. A photo of those bottles was shown on a screen in court June 8.

Mr. Cosby said Ms. Constand often wasn’t thinking clearly and he believed she had a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder. He also questioned whether she had taken drugs like LSD. During his interview with Ms. Constand, Sargent Schaffer acknowledged that she was “anxious,” a word Cosby had previously used to describe her before given her the pills.

“She needed to relax,” Mr. Cosby told investigators. “Her eyes were…all over and she was anxious,” he said.

Prosecutors summoned Montgomery County Det. James Reape to the stand, June 8 where he began pouring over the controversial statements that Mr. Cosby made during a deposition in the civil case settled in 2006 between the comedian and Ms. Constand.

Mr. Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault and could face as much as 30 years in prison if convicted. Some 60 women have come forward accusing Mr. Cosby of sexually violating them, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Ms. Constand is the only woman whose allegations have resulted in criminal charges.

On June 8, Mr. Cosby arrived to court with comedian Joe Torry and actor Lewis Dix. On June 7, actress Sheila Frazier and her hairstylist husband, John Atchison, showed up with Mr. Cosby. Earlier in the week, Keshia Knight-Pulliam, who starred as Rudy on the iconic sitcom “The Cosby Show,” was present in the courtroom. 

 (Combined dispatch reports from Stacy M. Brown of NNPA newswire with contributions from Final Call staff and the Associated Press.)