On Monday, the defense in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial rested their case after calling just a single witness. Monday also marked the first time since the shocking trial began one week ago that Bill’s wife, Camille Cosby, made an appearance in the courtroom.
Camille Cosby was seated in the front row of trial spectators, a tight smile on her face and a publicist leading the way. Neither she nor her 79-year-old comedian husband acknowledged one another during the trial, despite the fact that she has publicly spoken out in Bill Cosby’s defense repeatedly in the midst of dozens of sexual assault allegations over the last several years. It is worth noting that Bill Cosby has claimed to be legally blind, and it is entirely possible he simply didn’t see his wife enter the courtroom and that the pair were photographed together outside the courthouse.
Cosby himself never took the witness stand in his own defense. In fact, the defense team’s single witness consisted of Detective Richard Schaffer, who spoke under oath about statements alleged sexual assault victim Andrea Constand made to police throughout the course of the investigation into her claims. The Cosby defense team had intended to present more witnesses to help make their case, but those witnesses were blocked by the judge. In total, it has been reported that the defense witness was on the stand for just six minutes.
As NBC News reports, Judge Steven O’Neill determined that many of the potential defense witnesses in the Bill Cosby trial would have violated Pennsylvania’s iron-clad “rape shield” law. In other cases, it was determined that the defense witness’s testimony would have amounted to nothing more than hearsay.
Just hours before the Bill Cosby defense team rested their case, prosecutors had already done the same. Initially, the Cosby trial was expected to stretch out to two full weeks, but it has proceeded much faster than expected. It is possible that jurors may begin deliberations as soon as late Monday.
Bill Cosby stands accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault related to the alleged drugging and sexual assault of 44-year-old Andrea Constand in January of 2004. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge. Constand, who was an employee of Temple University at the time of the alleged sexual assault, claims that the comedian gained her friendship and trust and even showed a romantic interest in her prior to the alleged crime.
According to Constand, she was drugged by Cosby and subsequently sexually assaulted at his Pennsylvania home. Bill Cosby does not deny that he and Constand had a sexual encounter, but he has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and argued that everything that occurred was consensual. It has since been revealed that Andrea Constand is gay.
In 2006, Cosby settled a civil lawsuit related to the alleged sexual assault for an undisclosed amount, which was paid to Andrea Constand for her silence. During the civil case, however, Bill Cosby gave sworn depositions that were later unsealed as part of the criminal case against him. In those depositions, Cosby admitted to stockpiling quaaludes for the express purpose of giving them to young women he wanted to have sexual contact with. The prosecution in the Bill Cosby trial has argued that because Ms. Constand had been drugged prior to the sexual contact that reportedly occurred between herself and Cosby, she was incapable if consenting.
“Trust, betrayal and the inability to consent. That is what this case is about. This case is about whether Ms. Constand had the ability to consent. The answer is no.”
Andrea Constand took the witness stand on behalf of Bill Cosby’s prosecutors last week. Throughout the course of her testimony, she admitted that there had been some minor inconsistencies in her earlier police statements, a fact that the Cosby defense latched onto and attempted to exploit to their maximum benefit. According to Constand, she was suffering the effects of a significant trauma when she first reported the sexual assault to law enforcement.
Roughly 60 women have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting and/or drugging them in the last several years. However, Andrea Constand’s allegations are the only ones to result in criminal charges against the formerly beloved star of The Cosby Show. According to Cosby’s alleged victims, the actor has been sexually assaulting women for decades. The prosecutors in the Cosby trial attempted to put several of Cosby’s dozens of accusers on the stand to help make their case against the comedian, but Judge O’Neill only allowed one of them to testify.
Last week, Kelly Johnson took the stand to accuse Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her in California in the early 1990s. When she tearfully took the stand to point the finger at Cosby, she recounted a tale eerily similar to that of Andrea Constand. While Bill Cosby is facing no criminal charges in connection to his alleged decades-old sexual assault against Johnson, her testimony regarding being drugged and sexually assaulted by the star was intended by the prosecution to establish that Cosby had demonstrated a pattern of behavior similar to what Constand alleged in her sexual assault claim.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]