Cosby buoyant as jury deliberates

  • 15/06/2017

Bill Cosby flashed a thumbs-up sign as he arrived for the second full day of marathon deliberations by the jury in his sexual assault trial.

Cosby greeted onlookers while exiting his sport utility vehicle at the Montgomery County courthouse on Wednesday, and 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 on Monday, and the sessions have stretched past 9pm on that day and Tuesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, now 44, in 2004 at his home in a Philadelphia suburb.

About 60 other women have made similar allegations against the former star of the hit 1980s TV family comedy The Cosby Show, but only Ms Constand's accusation is recent enough to allow for criminal prosecution.

Cosby has denied all of the accusations, saying any sex with the women was consensual.

He did not testify during the trial, but prosecutors introduced his account of the incident through sworn depositions from 2005 and 2006.

As the deliberations continued on Wednesday, the crowd waiting outside the Montgomery County courthouse appeared to have grown, including the occasional protester and one local resident who set up a swiveling armchair on the sidewalk.

Since starting their deliberations, the jurors have re-examined both Cosby's and Ms Constand's versions of the night in question, with particular focus on the pills he gave her before the sexual encounter began.

Ms Constand testified the pills left her disoriented and unable to resist him. 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 Ms Constand was Cosby's willing lover before she fabricated her account of the assault as a way of getting to his money. They pointed to Ms 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.

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

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

Reuters