Jury deliberating on Bill Cosby sexual assault charges

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Actor and comedian Bill Cosby (C) arrives with spokesman Andrew Wyatt for the fourth day of his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, US June 8, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA – After six days of emotional testimony and reams of evidence, 12 jurors were deliberating Bill Cosby’s fate for a second day on Tuesday.

The 79-year-old disgraced comedian was on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at his Philadelphia home more than 13 years ago.

Cosby was painted as a predator and callous manipulator by the prosecution, while the defence portrayed him as a lover and kindly mentor.

The jury was to decide whether Cosby was guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each of which carried a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Prosecutor Kevin Steele and defence attorney Brian McMonagle each sent the jurors off to deliberations with rhetorical dilemmas to resolve.

Steele, a career prosecutor whose face turned the shade of a sun-ripened tomato during his close, tried to get jurors to focus on Cosby’s admission that he gave pills to his alleged victim, Andrea Constand, and the comedian’s testimony that he had called “three friends to help you (Constand) relax.”

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“Who says something like that?” Steele asked, his voice full of spite, as he pleaded with the jury to convict Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in 2004 when she was 30.

McMonagle, pounding the defence table, suggested to jurors that Cosby was the victim of a drumbeat of accusations by women who wanted to appear on television shows.

“You know why we’re here,” McMonagle said scornfully, nodding toward two Cosby accusers in the audience – Victoria Valentino and Linda Kirkpatrick – who did not testify in the case.

McMonagle cast blame on the media for giving Cosby’s accusers – who totaled 60 – a forum.

Later, Valentino said in an interview that she was proud to be singled out because she had helped expose a man she called “the biggest serial rapist in American history.”

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A few steps behind Cosby, who sat at the defence table reclining in his chair, the comic legend’s wife, Camille, watched McMonagle’s closing argument.

When McMonagle urged jurors to view the alleged sexual encounter between her husband and Constand as part of a year-long romance, Camille Cosby sat with her head held high, a slight smile on her face.

The criminal case focused on the disputed contact between Cosby and just one woman: Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball staffer who says Cosby took advantage of his role as her mentor, and slipped her pills that left her “frozen” and unable to stop him from touching her breasts and genitals.

Rather than focus on the sexual assault allegations, McMonagle tried to present jurors with a broader sense of Cosby as a flawed man, an “unfaithful” husband, but also a brilliant comedian, “who not only taught us how to smile but how to love each other no matter what we look like.”