Jury be­gins de­lib­er­at­ing mo­lesta­tion charges against Cosby.

If con­victed, he may spend rest of life in jail

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARYCLAIRE DALE AND MICHAEL R. SISAK

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.

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