Monday, June 12, 2017

Defense: Cosby Accuser "Lied"

Bill Cosby and wife

(Reuters) -- Bill Cosby's accuser lied repeatedly when she claimed the performer sexually assaulted her at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004, his lawyer told jurors on Monday at the close of his criminal trial.

With Cosby's wife, Camille Cosby, sitting in the courtroom for the first time, lead defense attorney Brian McMonagle walked the jury through several inconsistencies in Andrea Constand's story. He noted that she first told police that she cut off contact with Cosby after the incident, but actually called him more than 50 times over two months.

"That's a lie," McMonagle told jurors. "It's not a fib, it's not a mistake. It's a stone-cold lie."

His summation came shortly after Cosby told Judge Steven O'Neill in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that he would not testify in his own defense. The prosecution's closing argument will come on Monday afternoon.

The 79-year-old former star of the 1980s television hit "The Cosby Show" faces charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, now 44. At the time, she was director of operations at the women's basketball team at Cosby's alma mater, Temple University.

Dozens of women have made similar accusations against Cosby stretching back to the 1960s, although only Constand has accused him of a crime that allegedly took place recently enough to allow for prosecution.

Cosby has denied all of the allegations.

McMonagle argued that Cosby was guilty of infidelity but no crime.

"We're not perfect, are we?" he said, pausing and looking at Camille Cosby, 73.

McMonagle focused on Constand's shifting story, pointing out that she changed her estimate of when the alleged assault occurred several times in speaking with police in 2005.

"She'd remember it for the next 365 days and all the days of her life if there were a sexual assault in this case," the attorney said.

McMonagle also argued that Constand was romantically involved with Cosby before deciding to manufacture the story of an assault to support a civil lawsuit. He pointed to other private encounters she had with the actor and comedian, including a firelight dinner at his home, and the calls she made to Cosby after the incident.

Andrea Constand
Constand testified last week that she made the calls because of her job at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and a famous alumnus.

"This isn't talking to a trustee," McMonagle shouted. "This is talking to a lover."

In an interview with police in 2005, meanwhile, Cosby portrayed the incident as consensual and said he gave Constand some Benadryl pills to ease her tension.

Soon after, prosecutors declined to bring charges. The case was not reopened until 2015 when Cosby's sworn deposition taken in Constand's civil lawsuit was unsealed, in which he said he gave young women Quaalude sedatives.

"Did he say one thing in his sworn testimony that changed anything he said before?" McMonagle said. "Quaaludes have nothing to do with this case."

Prosecutors also called a second accuser, Kelly Johnson, to bolster Constand's account. Johnson told jurors Cosby sexually assaulted her in a strikingly similar manner in 1996.

But McMonagle pointed out that Johnson first told her story at a televised news conference, and noted that a lawyer testified Johnson had previously said the assault occurred six years earlier.

"Let's be real," he said. "We're not here because of Andrea Constand. That was over in 2005. We're here because of this (Johnson) nonsense."

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