The Bill Cosby Trial: Week 1
The trial of Bill Cosby, the once-beloved Philadelphia comedian, kicked off earlier this week as opening remarks began June 5 at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. The former star of I, Spy and his own wildly-popular eponymous show has been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting ex-Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004.
Constand’s case has so far been the only one to make it trial after dozens of women accused Cosby of engaging in similar behavior over the course of his illustrious career. The New York Times reports that some of the entertainer’s accusers have come to watch while Mrs. Cosby – who maintains that her husband is innocent –remained home.
Here’s a roundup of what you might’ve missed:
- The prosecution opened by stating that Cosby’s own words will convict him, citing a lawsuit deposition in which the 79-year-old admitted to using Quaaludes to have sex with women and foreshadowing a phone recording between the Cos and Constand’s mother that will later be submitted as evidence.
- “Trust, betrayal and the inability to consent. That is what this case is about,” said Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden.
- The defense questioned Constand’s credibility in their opening remarks, describing inconsistencies in her account of the crime while implying that her conduct after the fact did not suggest that she was a victim.
- Defense attorney Brian McMonagle told the jury that previously undisclosed phone records show that Constand called Cosby 53 times after their encounter but later told police that she never tried to contact him.
- McMonagle called his client a “flawed husband” but claimed he is not an abuser.
- The prosecution’s first witness, Kelly Johnson, testified that Cosby forced her to swallow a large white pill before attacking her in a bungalow at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles in 1996.
- Constand takes the stand and testifies for a grueling four hours, tearfully detailing the night in early 2004 when she said Cosby gave her three blue pills and wine “to relax” at his home in Cheltenham.
- “I was jolted awake and I felt Mr. Cosby’s hand groping my breasts under my shirt,” the 44-year-old testified. “I also felt his hand inside my vagina moving in and out, and I felt him take my hand and place it on his penis and move it back and forth.”
- Cosby claims that the sex was consensual, and defense attorneys aggressively questioned Constand’s account and later behavior on cross-examination.
- Voicemail messages left by Cosby’s representatives were played for the jury by the prosecution.
- After testifying that she never had a romantic relationship with Cosby, Constand stepped down from the witness stand and was followed by her mother.
- Gianna Constand said that Cosby mentored her daughter and she viewed him as a father before he “betrayed” her.
- “He said, ‘Don’t worry, mom, there was no penetration, just digital penetration,’” Gianna Constand testified. “He said to me, ‘And, mom, she even had an orgasm.’”
- Cosby’s defense attorneys peppered Gianna Constand with questions on cross-examination, many of which she deflected by saying “I don’t remember.”
- Prosecutors entered the aforementioned deposition from a 2005 civil suit into evidence, which they described as the catalyst for re-opening their case against Cosby.
- Additional supporting witnesses were called by the prosecution, including a police officer who interviewed the comedian back in ’05.
- The defense questioned Cheltenham Township Police Sgt. Richard Schaffer about a statement taken from Constand where she crossed out parts they claim she didn’t want in there, including a line where she reportedly told Cosby that “the cognac was fantastic.”
- The prosecution began to wind down its case, presenting the rest of Cosby’s deposition and specifically drawing attention to his comments on providing Quaaludes to women.
- “Nothing is ever off the table in a trial of this magnitude,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told reporters when asked whether the Cos would take the stand himself. “You have to look at all your options. In a ballgame, things change and players are taken out and sometimes the star player plays and sometimes he doesn’t.”
- Prosecutors shouldn’t need more than a day before the trial is turned over to the defense to present its case.
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