Deliberations begin at Cosby sexual assault retrial

Bill Cosby (right) is escorted into the Montgomery County Courthouse on April 11. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

NORRISTOWN, Pa. —  For more than 10 hours, jurors deliberated the fate of former university trustee and comedian Bill Cosby without reaching a verdict on Wednesday.

Deliberations began around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning and will resume tomorrow after the evening ended with rehearing a portion of Cosby’s 2005 deposition for more than two hours.

Jurors asked to rehear testimony from 80-year-old Cosby and Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser in the Boyer College of Music and Dance, who alleged Andrea Constand told her she could falsely accuse a wealthy man of sexual assault for money.

Constand received nearly $3.4 million from Cosby in a 2005 civil suit, in which Cosby was represented by Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill read Cosby’s testimony to jurors for nearly three hours Wednesday evening. In this testimony, Cosby admits to having sexual contact with Constand on the night when she alleges he assaulted her.

Jurors will start tomorrow by rehearing Jackson’s testimony.

Throughout the day, jurors asked two questions. At around 12:45 p.m., jurors requested the legal definition of “consent.” O’Neill told jurors he could not answer their question and that they had to figure out the definition on their own.

Later, about four hours into deliberations, jurors requested Jackson’s statements from November 2016 and January 2018, to which O’Neill said he could not provide for the jurors.

During Jackson’s testimony last week, the prosecution’s cross-examination attacked her credibility by questioning if Cosby’s defense attorney Kathleen Bliss and Jackson “created” her January 2018 statement. The defense raised several objections to this line of questioning and the following day moved for a mistrial, but was denied.

During his directions to the jury, O’Neill read the charges against Cosby, which are three counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in January 2004. Jurors must consider each charge separately and unanimously agree on the verdict for each charge.

In order to find Cosby guilty on the first count, jurors must find beyond a reasonable doubt that Cosby had sexual contact with Constand without her consent.

For the second count, jurors must find that Cosby had sexual contact with her while she was unconscious. For the third and final count, jurors must decide unanimously whether Cosby gave her an intoxicant to stop Constand from resisting any sexual contact.

O’Neill made it clear to jurors they should not consider the opening and closing statements of the prosecution and defense as facts in the case.

Closing statements on Tuesday were fiery, as the defense continued their attack on Constand’s credibility and called her a “pathological liar,” and a con-artist who only wanted money. The prosecution, however, told jurors in their closing statements that Cosby was the con-artist who used him fame and fortune to trick women and ultimately drug and sexually assault them.

Cosby could face up to 30 years in prison if he found guilty on all three charges.

Kelly Brennan
can be reached at kelly.brennan@temple.edu Or you can follow Kelly on Twitter @_kellybrennan Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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