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Bill Cosby’s defense makes closing arguments in sexual assault retrial

Andrea Constand’s allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her are the product of a ‘pathological liar’, motivated by a desire for money and publicity, the disgraced comedian’s defense team argued in closing arguments on Tuesday.

The jury heard closing statements in the disgraced actor’s retrial at Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on the 12th day of the hearing.  

Cosby stands accused on three counts of aggravated indecent assault – penetration without consent, penetration while the complainant is unconscious and penetration without the knowledge of a complainant having administered an intoxicant for the purposes of preventing resistance.

A once-beloved figure known as ‘America’s Dad’ for playing Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992, Cosby has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he has had was consensual.

If convicted of all three counts, he would likely face at most ten years in prison as a first offender under state sentencing guidelines, although Pennsylvania law allows for a maximum penalty of three consecutive ten-year sentences, a prosecution spokeswoman said. 

Camille, Cosby’s wife of more than five decades, smiled as she and her disgraced comedian husband walked in to the courthouse together ahead of closing arguments.   

Bill Cosby and his wife Camille smiled as they walked into Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday

Camille has not been in court for the duration of the trial, just as she was not present to hear evidence when Andrea Constand's case against Cosby was first heard last June

Camille has not been in court for the duration of the trial, just as she was not present to hear evidence when Andrea Constand’s case against Cosby was first heard last June

Camille and her disgraced comedian husband have been married for more than five decades

Camille and her disgraced comedian husband have been married for more than five decades

The defense spoke first on Tuesday to urge the jury to ‘stand up against rumor, gossip and shallow nonsense.’

‘This is an 80-year-old man, who’s nearly blind, with a successful career who’s looking at absolute ruin,’ according to lead counsel Thomas Mesereau.

He said that Constand’s payout of $3.4 million in the civil suit against Cosby she settled in 2006 was ‘One of the biggest highway robberies of all time.’

‘Bill Cosby got conned big time,’ he said. ‘She didn’t require of him that he admit he did anything wrong. She just wanted the money.’

Mesereau said that Cosby paid for peace, but instead got a ‘disaster’, adding: ‘Eighty years old – on trial for your life that’s what he got.’ 

‘Credibility is everything’ he told the jury. ‘And when the accuser lies about anything in a case like this it’s over.’

What the prosecution termed ‘inconsistencies’ in her statement he branded lies, ‘She dead bang lied,’ Mesereau said. ‘You need pliers to pull the truth out of this person.’

Mesereau pulled up a list of what he said were 12 lies – flashing them up on the projection screen then working his way through each one.

He reeled off the list, ‘She lied about getting in bed with Bill Cosby in Connecticut. She lied about prior sexual contact. She lied about the reason for her trip to Connecticut.

‘She lied about being alone with Bill Cosby before the night of the alleged assault. She lied about flirting with Bill Cosby, the nature of her relationship with Bill Cosby, how long she knew him, about calling him after the night of the alleged assault.

‘She lied about wearing a sweater gifted to her by Bill Cosby. Miss Bliss clued me in on this one,’ he admitted, ‘She told me ask any woman what wearing a sweater he gave her means.’

He continued: ‘She lied about blaming Bill Cosby for her resignation from Temple, lied about roommates on the road and she lied about wanting money.’  

Cosby's retrial is set to go to the jury on Tuesday, but not before closing arguments pitting the prosecution's portrayal of a serial predator against the defense's contention that he's the victim of a 'con artist'

Cosby’s retrial is set to go to the jury on Tuesday, but not before closing arguments pitting the prosecution’s portrayal of a serial predator against the defense’s contention that he’s the victim of a ‘con artist’

Andrea Constand alleges that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in his home in the Philadelphia suburbs in 2004

Andrea Constand alleges that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in his home in the Philadelphia suburbs in 2004

Mesereau declared, ‘This woman will say whatever she wants to say. The truth means nothing.’

Cosby’s wife Camille, 74, was in court for the first time this trial to listen to hear closing arguments.

Smiling broadly and wearing sunglasses she had walked directly to the front of the room to where her husband sat, he had stood at her approach.

Their foreheads touched as he put his hand in the small of her back and she put her arm around his shoulder. They exchanged words, he smiled and kissed her twice on the lips, once on the cheek before she took her seat in at the front of the gallery.

This was a very different Camille than the stoic figure of last year’s trial. Then too she attended only the closing arguments, choosing to sit out ‘uncomfortable’ testimony of her husband’s ‘intimacies’ with other women.

But she was blank-faced and barely acknowledged her husband. Today, even though she had run the gauntlet of protesters branding her husband a rapist, she seemed somehow serene – impervious to their jeers.

Before Mesereau took the podium to meticulously unpick the detail of Constand’s inconsistent testimony, co-counsel Kathleen Bliss had provided the jury with an overview of all that had gone before.

Speaking softly and earnestly she said, ‘You are about to make the most important decision of your life. You are about to decide the fate of Mr Cosby’. 

She said: ‘There is just no credible evidence, no objective evidence to support any notion that Mr Cosby sexually assaulted Mr Cosby, no forensic evidence to suggest that he drugged Andrea Constand.’

‘Acquit,’ she urged. ‘Acquit Mr Cosby.’

In one extraordinary moment as she slammed what she presented as the unquestioning acceptance of sexual assault allegations in the post #MeToo environment.

She said: ‘I could say Mr Steele sexually assaulted me last year. My word against his word, spare the details. Would you convict on that?’   

The defense rested on Monday after the 80-year-old comedian said he wouldn't testify, echoing his decision at his first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year

The defense rested on Monday after the 80-year-old comedian said he wouldn’t testify, echoing his decision at his first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year

A once-beloved figure known as 'America's Dad' for playing Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992, Cosby has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he has had was consensual

A once-beloved figure known as ‘America’s Dad’ for playing Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992, Cosby has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he has had was consensual

If convicted of all three counts, he would likely face at most ten years in prison as a first offender under state sentencing guidelines, although Pennsylvania law allows for a maximum penalty of three consecutive ten-year sentences

If convicted of all three counts, he would likely face at most ten years in prison as a first offender under state sentencing guidelines, although Pennsylvania law allows for a maximum penalty of three consecutive ten-year sentences

She urged them to ‘test the evidence, weigh it,’ and to ‘never, ever let anyone shame you into a conviction.’

She reminded them about Margo Jackson – the defense’s ‘star’ witness and a woman who the prosecution first tried to ban from the stand and then tried to impeach, suggesting that her statement had been ‘created’ with Bliss’s help.

Mesereau dubbed Jackson ‘Andrea Constand’s worst nightmare. If Margo Jackson is believed we’re out of here. It’s over’

Jackson, an employee of Temple University told the jury that Constand once told her that she had been sexually assaulted by a celebrity only to recant and say that she could say she had been and bring a lawsuit. ‘Get the money essentially,’ she said.

‘Who are you going to believe? ‘ Bliss said. ‘Are you going to believe a mature dignified woman who takes the stand? Or someone who gives you inconsistent statements one after another after another?’

Pitting Jackson’s education and career against Constand she said. ‘A woman who’s briefly at Temple running a pyramid scheme? A woman who’s been at Temple three decades or Andrea Constand, a woman scamming for money?’

According to Bliss the case is ‘over’ with Jackson’s testimony.

She dismissed Montgomery County Detective James Reape as ‘a Monday morning Quarterback’, for telling the court that he set inconsistencies in Constand’s statements aside when re-investigating the case in 2015.

‘That should make you shudder to the bone,’ she told the jury.

She reminded the jury that the county had originally declined to prosecute in 2005.

As for Gianna Constand, Bliss said she was either ‘an angry mother or a co-conspirator’. But it was the latter image she pressed.

Mrs Constand testified that Cosby had apologized to her during a telephone call in which he admitted to being ‘a dirty old man’ and to having digitally penetrated Constand.   

As Cosby walked into the court alongside Camille, his spokesman Andrew Wyatt, who he normally walked into court with throughout the trial, trailed closely behind

As Cosby walked into the court alongside Camille, his spokesman Andrew Wyatt, who he normally walked into court with throughout the trial, trailed closely behind

There was a police presence outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania, court as the comedian walked into court on Tuesday morning 

There was a police presence outside the Norristown, Pennsylvania, court as the comedian walked into court on Tuesday morning 

Cosby held his cane in one hand as he and Camille walked into the courthouse on Tuesday morning

Cosby held his cane in one hand as he and Camille walked into the courthouse on Tuesday morning

This was no admission to any assault, simply the guilt of an older married man, Bliss said: ‘Think about it. He’s 30 years older than she is and he’s got the mother yelling at him. Yes he feels bad. He’s married.’

Next Bliss turned to the ‘five accusers’ – the prosecutor’s ‘prior bad acts’ witnesses.

‘First of all,’ she said, ‘How unfair is that? Digging up stuff from three decades ago?’ 

With more than a nod to the #MeToo movement she said: ‘Questioning an accuser is not shaming a victim. Gut feelings are not rational decisions. Mob rule is not due process.’

The defense had sought to have the case thrown out on the grounds that Cosby would not get a fair trial in the heat of the #MeToo movement.

Bliss said: ‘Just as we have had horrible, horrible crimes we have had horrible, horrible periods of time where emotions and hatred and fear have overwhelmed us: witch-hunts, lynching’s, McCarthyism.’

One by one she picked apart each woman’s story – linking them all with the common motive of money and publicity.

‘We’re not talking about children or teenagers here,’ she said ‘We’re talking about women who liked to party and now come forward with claims of rape;’

Janice Dickinson came in for a particularly scathing attack, with Bliss saying: ‘She’s a failed starlet, an aged out model; she’s sold a lot of books in her time. Sex sells.

‘It sounds like she’s slept with every man on the planet She flies hours and hours to Bali to hook up with Mr Cosby. He wasn’t interested. So she goes to her room boozes it up and pops a couple of Quaaludes.’

She reminded them that Dickinson had had to take a paternity test to determine whether the father of one of her children was Sylvester Stallone or another man.

‘Rocky was only a contender,’ she scoffed. ‘Is Miss Dickinson really the moral beacon for any women’s movement?’   

Cosby's lawyers Tom Mesereau (right) and Kathleen Bliss (left), arrive for the closing arguments in the retrial on Tuesday morning

Cosby’s lawyers Tom Mesereau (right) and Kathleen Bliss (left), arrive for the closing arguments in the retrial on Tuesday morning

‘She said America’s dad mounted her in 1982. Mr Cosby’s show didn’t air until 1984,’ she added. ‘That’s not a little white lie.’

Bliss blasted talk of Quaaludes as ‘a red-herring’ and reminded the jury that Benadryl was the only medication at play and something Cosby himself admitted to taking. 

A faint smile flickered across Cosby’s face as he listened intently first to Bliss then to Mesereau’s calmly powerful close.

Known for his forensic approach to cross-examination Mesereau applied the same steady scrutiny to Constand’s testimony. 

He dissected telephone records to show that Constand called Cosby hundreds of times after the night of the alleged assault but not once on the night itself as she had claimed. 

There is no record of any telephone call from Constand to Cosby’s home in the entire month of January yet she claimed the she called from the road to let him know she was near so he could open the gate.

But Mesereau went further than simply highlighting this absence. For the prosecution to be able to bring this case he told the jury they have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt that this assault happened on or after December 30, 2003 to fall within the window of the statute of limitations.

According to Mesereau there is ‘not a single day between December 30 and the end of January when the assault could have possible taken place. He ran through the records to prove it.’

‘You’re dealing with a pathological liar,’ he told the jury with the tone of one almost apologetic at asking them to accept such an uncomfortable truth.

It’s a ‘He said, She said’ type case Mesereau said with no forensics, ‘thanks to her.’

He added: ‘The Commonwealth cannot meet their burden of proof.’

‘As he looks at you today Mr Cosby is innocent, never had a criminal conviction in his life. You can’t find him guilty based on their suspicion of guilt,’ Mesereau told the jury.

Mesereau concluded: ‘If you value the truth at all you must acquit Mr Cosby.

‘He must walk out of her free. He’s an 80-year-old man. He’s made some mistakes for sure. But ladies and gentlemen he is no criminal.’ 

FIVE BILL COSBY RAPE ACCUSERS WHO HAVE TESTIFIED AT RETRIAL

Five women  who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault have testified at the comedian’s retrial. 

It was a big increase from the first trial, where there were just two women who took the stand – plaintiff Andrea Constand and Kelly Johnson.

This time Constand was joined by Janice Baker-Kinney, Janice Dickinson, Chelan lasha, Lisa-Lotte Lublin and Heidi Thomas.

Prosecutors had been hoping to have 13 women testify alongside Constand to speak to a pattern of behavior exhibited by the defendant.

Cosby, 80, has been accused of drugging and raping over 40 women.

Janice Baker-Kinney

Janice Baker-Kinney claims that in 1982 (left)  she woke up naked in bed with the comedian – and he told her to keep their encounter to themselves

JANICE BAKER-KINNEY

Kinney said she was 24 in May 1982 when she and a friend met Cosby at the casino where she worked in Reno, Nevada.

She said the three of them went back to Cosby’s apartment, where he gave her some pills.

Baker-Kinney willingly took two pills and said she began to get blurry vision while playing backgammon with Cosby. 

Hours later, she claims, she woke up naked in bed with the comedian – and he told her to keep their encounter to themselves.

‘I was mortified at what had happened,’ said Kinney back in 2015 when she went public with her allegations at a press conference. 

‘All this time, and for many, many years, I felt that this was my fault.’ 

The defense tried to deny Baker-Kinney’s admission as a witness by arguing that her story is ‘nothing like Ms. Constand’s’ because she only met Cosby once, ‘voluntarily’ took quaaludes and apologized for passing out.

Janice Dickinson in 1982

Janice Dickinson

Janice Dickinson (left in 1982) claims that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982 after giving her an unknown pill while they were in Lake Tahoe

JANICE DICKINSON 

The supermodel claims that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1982 after giving her an unknown pill.   

Dickinson said in that 2014 interview that Cosby invited her to dinner to discuss a role on The Cosby Show and at one point offered her a glass of wine and a pill.

‘The next morning I woke up, and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man,’ she told Entertainment Tonight.

‘I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs.’

Dickinson said her last memory of the night was of Cosby taking off his robe and climbing on top of her, and that the next morning she remembers ‘a lot of pain.’ 

The supermodel claimed the incident occurred in Lake Tahoe, California in 1982.

In her memoir, Dickinson detailed some of her evening in Lake Tahoe with Cosby but told a very different story.

She said she was drinking with Cosby at dinner and after being invited back to his room told him she was tired, at which point he slammed his door in her face.

Legal claims made by Cosby and his team may be why she decided not to print her current version of the story.

She said back in 2014 that she came forward because she believes the other victims who have spoken publicly, and that it is the ‘right thing to do.’

As for what she would say to Cosby if she saw him, Dickinson did not mince words.

‘How dare you,’ she said.

‘Go f*ck yourself. How dare you take advantage of me. And I hope you rot.’ 

She is also currently preparing to face off with Cosby in a defamation lawsuit filed because of his response to her allegations.

Soon after that 2014 interview aired, Cosby’s attorney Marty Singer responded to requests for comment by disputing Dickinson’s claim that she was drugged and raped by his client and calling the allegation ‘an outrageous defamatory lie.’

A judge ruled in November that because he sent out that statement and a subsequent press release Singer will also face claims in the case.

‘We fail to see how justice is served by granting Singer a windfall immunity based on Cosby’s pursuit of a meritless motion,’ wrote California Second District Court of Appeals Associate Justice Laurence Rubin.

It was also ruled that Dickinson could recover all legal costs related to the appeal from Singer and Cosby. 

Chelan Lasha in 1986

Chelan Lasha (left in 1986) claims that Cosby attacked her when she was just 17 in 1986 when she was an aspiring model

CHELAN LASHA 

Lasha said in a 2014 press conference that Cosby attacked her when she was just 17 in 1986 when she was an aspiring model.

She said her stepmother had sent pictures of her to the star and he called her at home in Las Vegas, inviting her to the Hilton Las Vegas, where he was performing and she had a job.

She then went up to Elvis Presley suite to meet him and after telling him she had a cold, he gave her a blue pill, which he said was an antihistimine, with a double shot of Amaretto. 

She said: ‘He was rubbing my neck and saying that he might have to have someone come in and give me stress therapy.’

She claimed he told her to change into a Hilton bathrobe and wet her hair to see the modelling scout.

Someone did briefly come up to the room, pertaining to be from the Ford Modelling Agency -telling her to she needed to lose 10 pounds – and taking some pictures.

Then, Chelan said, Cosby walked her to the bedroom and gave her another shot of Amaretto, which he claimed would help her cold.

‘I laid down,’ she said: ‘He laid down next to me on the bed and began pinching my left nipple and humping my leg while he was grunting.

‘I could not open my eyes. I couldn’t move or say anything. I felt something warm on my legs. Then I blacked out.

‘Thirteen to sixteen hours later I woke up by hearing Mr Cosby clapping his hands and saying ‘Daddy says wake up’. He gave me $1500. He said the money was to buy something nice for me and my grandmother and he also invited me to go to the Temptations show with my grandmother.

‘My grandmother went but I did not go because I was too sick. Then he invited us to his show. My grandmother really want to go. I did not, but I went with her and heckled him. As a result, I was fired my from job.’

Lisa-Loote Lublin in 1989

Lisa-Loote Lublin

Lisa-Lotte Lublin (left in 1989) believes she was sexually assaulted by Cosby while passed out in his hotel in 1989

LISA-LOTTE LUBLIN 

Lublin said she met Cosby in 1989 at a hotel in Las Vegas and that he asked her to perform an improvisation so that he could evaluate her acting.

According to the ex-model, she and Cosby were in the Elvis Suite at the Hilton Hotel when he offered her two drinks and proceeded to pet her hair.

A short time later she passed out, but she remembered the color of the walls in the room and a flood of bright light she said in a 2015 press conference. 

She said that she believes she was sexually assaulted by Cosby while passed out in the hotel.

Prior to this, she and her mother had gone for a run with the comedian.

The defense argued that Lublin assumes she is a victim based on other media accounts but can only remember Cosby stroking her hair. 

Heidi Thomas in 1984

Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas (left in 1984) said she found herself in bed next to a naked Bill Cosby who was ‘forcing himself’ in her mouth back in 1984

HEIDI THOMAS 

In 1984, Heidi Thomas, nee Johnson, was a 24-year-old model from Denver, Colorado, who was dreaming of a career in acting.

Thomas was being represented by the city’s top modelling agency, JF Images, but by 1984 she was questioning whether or not she wanted to stay in the business.

Then one day in the spring of 1984, she got a call from an agent who told her that a famous entertainer was searching for young talent to mentor.

Thomas said that Annie Maloney, of JF Images, instructed her to travel to Reno, Nevada, where she was supposed to meet with Bill Cosby, who allegedly had expressed interest in becoming her acting coach.Cosby greeted Thomas at the entrance and ushered her inside, according to the woman.

The aspiring actress began by performing a monologue for Cosby, who then asked her to do a cold read of a person who was intoxicated.

Thomas said Cosby was not impressed because to his mind, she was not convincing as a drunk. 

She recalled that Cosby wanted her to relax, so he poured her a glass of Chablis.

The married music teacher said that her memory of the next several hours is very hazy, but when she woke up later that night, she found herself in bed next to a naked Bill Cosby who was ‘forcing himself’ in her mouth.

According to the woman, the married comedian then got on top of her and said to her: ‘I’m your friend… your friend is gonna [ejaculate] again,’ according to the 54-year-old mother of three.

Thomas said she was confused as to what happened and eventually stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her, but she later apologized to Cosby for being rude.

She spent three more days with Cosby and said they were all hazy and a blur. 

The defense argued she has given three versions of her story. 



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