NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial spent another day deliberating the charges against the legendary entertainer, but issued no verdict on whether he drugged and molested a woman at his home outside Philadelphia in early 2004.
The predominantly-white jury of seven men and five women has deliberated for about 16 hours since Monday.
The jurors have seemed focused on both what the iconic comedian has said about what allegedly happened at his home that evening in January of 2004 — and on what the alleged victim, Andrea Constand, told police when she initially reported the incident a year later.
In the first two questions sent to Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill, the jury asked about the entertainer’s words in a 2005 deposition in which he acknowledged giving an over-the-counter allergy medication to relax Constand and other prescription pills to women with whom he wanted to engage in sexual encounters.
By late Tuesday, the jury asked for a repeat of testimony from a police detective in Canada, where Constand moved later in 2004, about her initial statement to investigators.
The jury, selected last month in Pittsburgh and sequestered here for the duration of the trial, is considering three aggravated indecent assault charges. If convicted of all three charges, Cosby could be sentenced to up to 10 years on each count.
Cosby, 79, is accused of molesting Constand, then manager of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where the entertainer was on the board of trustees. Cosby has pleaded not guilty and maintains that his relationship with Constand was romantic and consensual.
The incident allegedly took place when Constand visited Cosby’s home outside of Philadelphia, in Elkins Park, Montgomery County.
Constand is among dozens of women who have accused Cosby of drugging and molesting them, but her allegation is the only one to prompt criminal charges, which were filed in December of 2015 shortly before the statute of limitation was due to expire.
The trial has drawn about six other alleged victims, who were camped out at the courthouse in a bid of support of Constand. She was in the courtroom yesterday for the jury questions.
But while the judge kept the jury focused squarely on the evidence presented in court, Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, was on the courthouse plaza outside, complaining that Cosby had been treated unfairly. He said the judge refused to allow the testimony of a woman who, according to her statement, claimed Constand had told her she hoped to get money from Cosby by saying something had happened. Saying the woman’s statement was hearsay, the judge refused the defense effort to call her to the stand.
In a note to the judge before lunch on Tuesday, the jury also asked for more definition of part of the third charge, which accuses Cosby of penetrating Constand’s genital area and states he “substantially impaired” her ability to control her conduct by administering drugs or other intoxicants “without the knowledge” of Constand.
The note focused on the phrase stating he had allegedly administered the drug “without the knowledge” of Constand.
Cosby, who turns 80 next month, left the courtroom in silence on the arm of Wyatt, who said the comedian is in good spirits. “He’s just waiting like everyone else and looking forward to a positive outcome,” Wyatt said in a brief interview.
Constand testified that she was planning to leave her job at Temple and embark on a new career plan and had been feeling stressed.
She said that Cosby brought her three blue pills, saying they would help her relax and assuring her they were safe. Reluctantly, she said, she took the pills because she trusted him as a friend and mentor, but soon, she felt woozy and had blurry vision. She testified the entertainer led her to a couch and she quickly became incapacitated and felt paralyzed as Cosby groped her breasts, inserted his finger in her, and put her hand on his penis.
“I was frozen,” she told the jury last week.
Cosby, who has been described as legally blind, has been supported by longtime friends and a few actors, including Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Cosby’s TV daughter, Rudy, on “The Cosby Show,” which remained popular in reruns long after the TV series ended in 1992. His wife, Camille, attended the trial for the first time on Monday.
In a note Monday evening, the jury foreperson said the jury was focused on Cosby’s acknowledgement that he gave her the pills.
“We need to see the whole context,” O’Neill said the note stated.
In the deposition, Cosby said he gave her Benadryl, a non-prescription allergy medication, as he and Constand talked in the kitchen of his home that night. “There was talk of tension, yes, about relaxing, and Andrea trying to relax the shoulders, the head, etc.,” Cosby stated in the part of the deposition read to the jury on Monday night.
Testifying in 2005, Cosby said he had obtained several prescriptions for Quaaludes in the 1970s and offered them to others “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink,’” according to the deposition, which was read to the jury.
“When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Cosby was asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
Cosby had given the deposition as part of a lawsuit filed by Constand that was later settled for an undisclosed sun. His testimony was sealed for years until parts of it were released by a federal judge in 2015 at the request of the Associated Press.