National News

Cosby back in court for Day Two of indecent assault trial

Posted June 6

Bill Cosby arrived in court Tuesday for Day Two of his trial on charges that he drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.

The 79-year-old actor and comedian has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault in the case.

Gripping the elbow of his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, Cosby smiled at times as he walked into the courtroom. His head slightly downward, he closed or squinted his eyes as he walked. As was the case Monday, his wife, Camille, did not arrive at the Montgomery County Courthouse with him. It isn't clear if she will attend the proceedings.

Though he has been publicly accused of assault by dozens of women, the charges deal solely with accusations from Constand. Another accuser was allowed to testify as prosecutors seek to establish that the assault was part of a pattern.

That accuser, Kelly Johnson, testified Monday that Cosby used his fame and influence to pressure her to take a pill that made her feel "underwater" and unable to resist his advances. Cosby then engaged in sexual activity with her when she could not consent, she testified through tears.

'He said, she said' case?

Cosby's attorney Brian McMonagle pointed out inconsistencies in Johnson's story, which he used to argue that the incident did not occur.

Legal experts have said the trial will hinge on the "he said, she said" arguments so common to sexual offense cases. There is little forensic evidence against Cosby.

In opening statements, prosecutors argued that Cosby gained the trust of Constand -- a basketball manager at Temple University, Cosby's alma mater, and more than 30 years his junior -- by offering to mentor her.

He betrayed that trust when he pushed her to take drugs that incapacitated her and then took advantage of her sexually, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden said.

"This is a case about a man, this man," Feden said, pointing to Cosby, "who used his power and his fame and his previously practiced method of placing a young trusting woman in an incapacitated state so that he could sexually pleasure himself so that she couldn't say no."

Defense: Sex was consensual

McMonagle said in opening statements that their sexual activity was consensual and that Constand had repeatedly changed her story while talking to law enforcement.

Constand told police about the incident in 2005, a year after it occurred. At the time, the district attorney declined to press charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Constand sued in civil court, and Cosby provided sworn deposition in which he admitted to sexual activity with Constand but said the encounter was consensual. The drugs he gave Constand were over-the-counter Benadryl, he testified.

Cosby also said he had obtained Quaaludes to give them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. The civil suit was settled in 2006, and the deposition was sealed away from public eyes until 2015.

Based on that deposition, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele filed charges against Cosby in December 2015.

Cosby has said he does not plan to testify in the trial, so the deposition will serve to tell Cosby's side of the story.

An American favorite

Cosby arrived in court Monday arm in arm with Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy Huxtable on "The Cosby Show."

Several women who have accused Cosby of assault were in court Monday, including ex-Playboy model Victoria Valentino, Florida nurse Therese Serignese and former actor Lili Bernard.

Cosby starred in "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," "I Spy" and "The Cosby Show." Through the latter he turned the lives of an upper middle-class African-American family into a groundbreaking TV sitcom.

His sweater-wearing portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable made him a household name and one of the most beloved comedians in the world. In later years, Cosby became somewhat of a public moralizer, speaking out against what he saw as the failings of the African-American community in raising children.

Cosby is facing a jury of seven men and five women. Two jurors are black. The jurors, who were selected in Allegheny County in an effort to ensure a fair trial, will be sequestered in the criminal trial for about two weeks, the lawyers in the case have predicted.

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