Bill Cosby's Fate Is Now In the Hands of the Jury
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 6/13/2017, 5:38 a.m.
By Eric Levenson and Lawrence Crook III
(CNN) -- Deliberations began in Bill Cosby's trial on charges of aggravated indecent assault on Monday night after prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final pleas to the jury.
In a fiery closing statement, defense attorney Brian McMonagle said the prosecution's key witness, Andrea Constand, had too many inconsistencies in her story to be a reliable witness.
But District Attorney Kevin Steele said those inconsistencies were minor and little more than a distraction. He argued that Cosby used his role as a mentor and respected public figure to gain Constand's trust and then drug her and take advantage of her.
Cosby, the famed comedian, did not testify in his own defense, and his defense rested after calling just one repeat witness for further questioning.
Jurors did hear Cosby's side of the story, though not in his voice. Last week, police detectives read aloud his statements to police in 2005 and in his civil deposition in 2006 responding to the allegations. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
The three charges accuse Cosby of assaulting Constand without her consent, assaulting her when she was unconscious, and assaulting her using drugs to substantially impair her ability to consent. He could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge.
Jurors were bused from Pittsburgh to the Montgomery County courthouse outside Philadelphia and sequestered in hotels during the trial. The jury began deliberating about 5:25 p.m. and asked the court one question around 7:15 p.m. and another at 9:30 p.m.
Jurors stopped for the day after four hours of deliberations and will return to court Tuesday morning.
'They're your friends'
The prosecution rested its case on Friday after calling 12 witnesses to the stand. Their central witness was Constand, the former Temple University employee who says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in January 2004.
Constand testified in firm and clear words over two days last week that Cosby, a powerful alum at the university, mentored her and then took advantage of her at his home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She testified he offered her three blue pills that he said were herbal and would help her relax.
"Put them down, they're your friends. They'll take the edge off," Cosby told her, she testified. "I said 'I trust you.' I took the pills and I swallowed the pills down."
She became incapacitated and felt "frozen" and told him so, she testified. Cosby then placed her on the couch and sexually assaulted her without her consent, she said. Cosby lowered and shook his head in the courtroom as she spoke.
In statements to police and in his civil deposition, the comedian known as "America's Dad" admitted he gave Constand pills and then engaged in sexual contact with her. He also said he had previously obtained Quaaludes, a powerful sedative, with the intention of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex.
Cosby's defense attorneys argued that his sexual contact with Constand was part of a consensual relationship between the two. They said Constand's initial statements to police were full of inconsistencies that undermine the truthfulness of her story.