Entertainment

Cosby Case Goes to Jurors

In a powerful closing argument at the Bill Cosby sexual assault retrial Tuesday, defense attorneys Kathleen Bliss and Tom Mesereau pointed out more than a dozen “lies” in accuser Andrea Constand’s statements to police and prosecutors.

Bliss also reminded jurors of past “lynchings” and “mob-style prosecutions.”

As a woman, Bliss said she could relate well to the #MeToo movement, and she even began telling a personal experience before District Attorney Kevin Steele objected and Judge Steven O’Neill attacked her for the inference.

Perhaps conjuring up memories of his late mentor Johnnie Cochran — who famously told jurors about a glove in evidence at the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial that “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit” — Mesereau in very deliberate fashion took the jury through telephone and flight records for every single day in January 2004, when Constand said she was drugged and assaulted by Cosby.

The inference was easy — Constand had claimed she called Cosby from a Temple University-issued cellphone the night of the incident. She also claimed that it happened before her cousin came to visit from Canada on Jan. 22.

A police detective testified for prosecutors that he pulled Department of Homeland Security records that show the cousin crossed the U.S. border that day. However, Mesereau showed jurors that there was not a single call from Constand to Cosby in Philadelphia in January.

“This was a con. Bill Cosby got conned,” Mesereau said.

He told jurors that if they reviewed the records and determine that the incident didn’t happen in January, then they must automatically return a “not guilty” verdict simply because Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations would have expired if the incident occurred any time before January 2004.

When asked during a deposition whether Constand had visited his Pennsylvania home in January 2004, Cosby said that date was “ballpark.”

Cosby, 80, who is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from an encounter between him and Constand, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Still, some observers say the hostility from prosecutors and O’Neill toward Bliss hasn’t been lost on them.

“Steele and the judge are so nasty toward her and this is supposedly a crime about women,” said Larcenia Best, one of the many spectators who packed the courtroom for closing arguments. “The crime is how bias and how disrespectful they’ve been toward Bliss and the other female attorneys, especially O’Neill.”

During an argument made by one of Cosby’s lawyers who appears to be of Middle Eastern descent, Steele’s media representative Kate Delano and staff members appeared to mock the attorney. Delano and others also openly laughed at an argument made by another female defense lawyer, Becky James.

While Cosby’s wife, Camille, kissed her husband and sat through the defense’s closing arguments, prosecutors brought Constand back for theirs.

They rejected the records presented by the defense even though a Federal Aviation Administration expert authenticated the files. They also said Constand’s inconsistencies should be overlooked because, as a victim, it’s common to get confused by some facts and dates.

Meanwhile, undaunted by what observers have called the bullying, Bliss remained calm.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to make one of the most important decisions you’ve ever made in your life,” she told jurors. “I respectfully say to you that the only decision to make, based on the evidence, is not guilty.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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