Jury begins deliberating molestation charges against Cosby.
If convicted, he may spend rest of life in jail
NORRISTOWN, PA. | The jury at Bill Cosby’s trial began deliberating Monday over whether he drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago in a case that has already helped demolish the 79-year-old comedian’s good-guy image.
A conviction could send Mr. Cosby to prison for the rest of his life, completing the stunning late-life downfall of one of the most beloved stars in show business.
The fast-moving case went to the jury of seven men and five women on Day 6 of the trial after closing arguments gave differing portrayals of what happened between Mr. Cosby and Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate.
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle told the jury that Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were lovers who had enjoyed secret “romantic interludes” and that the 2004 encounter was consensual. Mr. McMonagle said that while the comedian had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn’t commit a crime.
Prosecutors countered by saying “fancy lawyering” can’t save Mr. Cosby from his own words — namely, his admission about groping Ms. Constand after giving her pills he knew could put her to sleep.
“Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It’s criminal,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said.
Jurors got the case around 5:30 p.m., deliberated for about 90 minutes before ordering dinner, and then asked to see a portion of Mr. Cosby’s decadeold testimony from a civil suit filed against him by Ms. Constand.
Jurors told the judge that they wanted to hear the “full context” of Mr. Cosby’s testimony about the pills he gave to Ms. Constand, which he had described to her as “friends.”
“I have three friends for you to make you relax,” Mr. Cosby said he told Ms. Constand, according to a deposition transcript reread to the jury Monday night.
After the prosecution took five days to outline its side, the defense case consisted of just one witness, a detective, and six minutes of testimony Monday. Mr. Cosby did not take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.
Legal experts said testifying would have been a risky move that could have opened the TV star to withering cross-examination about some of the 60 or so other women who have accused him of drugging or molesting them.
He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each one punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.
The black comedian once known as America’s Dad for his portrayal of kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” suggested recently that race could have played a role in the case against him. The jury included two black members.
Mr. McMonagle, in his closing argument, tried to sow doubt about Ms. Constand’s story, saying it had evolved during her interviews with police. He also pointed out that Ms. Constand telephoned Mr. Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault. Ms. Constand told the jury she was merely returning his calls about the women’s basketball squad at Temple University, where she was director of team operations and he was a member of the board of trustees.