Thursday, September 20, 2018
Public safety

Bill Cosby jury drills down on his deposition testimony

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The jury in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case drilled down Tuesday on what the TV star said happened inside his suburban Philadelphia home and how he characterized his relationship with the accuser as it weighs charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Jurors began their second day of deliberations by reviewing more than a dozen passages from a deposition Cosby gave more than a decade ago. They heard excerpts covering a wide range of topics, from Cosby's first meeting with Andrea Constand to the night in 2004 she says he drugged and violated her.

As he described reaching into Constand's pants, Cosby testified, "I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."

Cosby is charged with drugging and molesting Constand, 44. His lawyer has said they were lovers sharing a consensual sexual encounter.

Cosby testified under oath more than a decade ago as part of Constand's civil suit against him. The 79-year-old entertainer did not take the stand at his trial, but prosecutors used his deposition testimony as evidence.

For the second time in their deliberations, the jurors asked to revisit a portion of the deposition in which the comedian talked about giving Constand "three friends."

"She sat with her back to the kitchen wall," Cosby said. "And there was talk of tension, yes, about relaxation and Andrea trying to learn to relax the shoulders, the head, et cetera. And I went upstairs and I went into my pack and I broke one whole one and brought a half down and told her to take it."

"Your friends," Cosby said he told her. "I have three friends for you to make you relax."

Cosby later told police the pills were Benadryl, an over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine. Constand — an athletic, 6-foot-tall college basketball staffer — said they made her dazed and groggy, and unable to say no or fight back when Cosby went inside her pants.

The defense insisted throughout the trial that Constand hid the fact they'd had a romantic relationship before the early 2004 encounter when she went to police a year later. Cosby, his lawyer said, never ran from talking to police, for better or worse.

"He never shuts up," lawyer Brian McMonagle said of his client in closing arguments Monday morning.

Nonetheless, the comedian whose storytelling artistry fueled a $400 million fortune went quiet Monday when he had the chance to take the stand. The defense started and ended its case Monday with six minutes of repeat testimony from a detective.

Cosby couldn't risk taking the stand and being cross-examined about his 60 other accusers if he denied ever drugging or molesting anyone.

Constand, by contrast, testified for more than seven hours last week. She had waited 12 years for her day in court. Authorities had declined to charge Cosby when she first came forward in 2005. Then the other women started coming forward.

Her lawsuit against him had elicited four days of testimony from Cosby about his sexual conduct with some of them. The testimony, unsealed in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, wasn't pretty coming from the beloved TV dad.

"Think about that, in terms of the courage Andrea Constand has shown," District Attorney Kevin Steele said in forceful closing arguments as Constand sat with detectives, her mother and other accusers in the front row.

The defense had tried repeatedly since Cosby's Dec. 30, 2015, arrest to have the case shut down. They said the charges were filed too late. They said the accusers were after money. They complained that prosecutors were improperly striking blacks from the jury chosen in Pittsburgh.

And all along, they said Constand was a willing romantic partner.

McMonagle cited gifts and phone calls between Cosby and Constand to show she was more than a college sports staffer trying to placate a powerful Temple University trustee.

"This isn't talking to a trustee. This is talking to a lover," McMonagle said of one phone call that lasted 49 minutes. "Why are we running from the truth of this case — this relationship? Why? I don't understand it."

Camille Cosby sat stoically in the first row behind her husband of 53 years at the defense table, about 30 feet from Constand.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

Comments
Boston incident sparks concern over testing gas pipes in St. Pete

Boston incident sparks concern over testing gas pipes in St. Pete

By SUHAUNA HUSSAINTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — One day after a string of fiery natural-gas explosions rocked three Massachusetts towns,St. Petersburg sent out a notice to residents warning them that Florida Gas Transmission will be testing its...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

TAMPA — The rapper Plies, aka Algernod Lanier Washington, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag.The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident faces a charge of carrying a concealed...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office now has Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish.The agency celebrated the official launch of the accounts on Wednesday. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the goal is to connect with an increasing number of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando sheriff’s deputies seized 90 animals on Tuesday and arrested a woman on animal cruelty and animal mistreatment charges after people called with concerns about an ill horse.Crystal Robin Crawford, 46, was arrested but not taken ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is setting the record straight about a viral Facebook video posted by a Dunedin woman who claimed she almost fell victim to human trafficking. Lynne Knowles took to Facebook to share what happened to her at the Pu...
Published: 09/19/18
Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

NEW PORT RICHEY — A few hours before he was lying on his back in the woods, shirtless with a dog’s jaws clamped around his arm, Kevin Wilson climbed into a second-story window and tried to kidnap a 6-month-old baby girl, according to the ...
Published: 09/19/18
Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

WASHINGTON — While Hurricane Florence barreled through the Carolinas, a different type of storm was brewing within the federal disaster relief agency tasked with responding to the fallout.The fate of Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergen...
Published: 09/19/18
Largo names new fire chief

Largo names new fire chief

LARGO — After two nationwide searches that produced 119 applicants, City Manager Henry Schubert didn’t have to look far to find his new fire chief.Schubert announced recently that Chad Pittman, deputy chief of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, w...
Published: 09/19/18
Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

TAMPA — An 18-year-old man was critically injured Tuesday when he was shot at an apartment complex in northeast Tampa.Officers responded about 2:30 a.m. to a call about an unknown emergency at the Silver Oaks Apartments, 4200 Kenneth Court, Ta...
Published: 09/18/18
Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

TAMPA — Police are bringing manslaughter charges against a Tampa man accused of throwing a fatal punch last April at well-known local muralist Matt Callahan.The suspect, 34-year-old Keith Mauga of Tampa, already is serving five years for aggravated b...
Published: 09/18/18