Cosby sex assault jury hears accuser's testimony again

By Joseph Ax
| NORRISTOWN, Pa.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. The jurors deciding comedian Bill Cosby’s fate at his sexual assault trial delved into his accuser’s account on Wednesday, their third day of deliberations.

The court reporter read back portions of Andrea Constand’s trial testimony describing how Cosby drugged her and then sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

Cosby, who flashed a thumbs-up sign as he arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday morning, has denied Constand’s allegations, as well as dozens of similar accusations made by women stretching back decades. Only Constand’s claims are recent enough to have led to criminal charges.

As Cosby entered the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, an aide to the 79-year-old entertainer carried a pillow in preparation for what could be another long day.

The jury began deliberations late Monday and stayed past 9 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday nights. They have now deliberated for a total of nearly 24 hours.

Cosby, the star of the 1980s hit TV series “The Cosby Show,” did not testify during the trial, but his account of the night in question was shown to jurors in his sworn depositions in 2005 and 2006 during Constand’s civil lawsuit as well as a voluntary police interview in 2005.

As the deliberations continued on Wednesday, the crowd outside the Montgomery County courthouse appeared to have grown.

“A lot of people looked up to him. I did when I was a kid,” said Roland Jennings, a 66-year-old black man who drove about 20 miles (32 km) from West Chester to wait for the verdict. “He brought this on himself.”

It was unclear how close the jury was to reaching a verdict.

Since starting deliberations, the jurors have re-examined both Cosby’s and Constand’s versions of the encounter, with particular focus on the pills he gave her beforehand.

Constand testified that the pills left her disoriented and unable to resist. The comedian said in depositions that he gave her the common allergy drug Benadryl and insisted the encounter was consensual.

Cosby’s lawyers have argued that Constand was a willing lover before she fabricated her account of the assault as a way of getting money from him. They pointed to Constand’s initial statement to police in 2005 that she had never been alone with him beforehand and cut off all contact afterward, both untrue.

Constand testified she was mistaken, and prosecutors called a psychologist who said that victims of sexual violence sometimes have trouble remembering details and engage in seemingly irrational behavior after the trauma.

Prosecutors have portrayed Cosby as a serial predator. They called a second woman, Kelly Johnson, who testified that he sexually assaulted her in 1996 and showed jurors testimony from his deposition in which he admitted giving young women sedatives in the 1970s.

(Additional reporting by David DeKok in Norristown; Editing by Bill Trott and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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