NORRISTOWN, PA. - Prosecutors are expected Thursday to introduce Bill Cosby's damaging admissions from a lawsuit deposition a dozen years ago to bolster the charges of sexual assault at issue in his criminal trial here.
Cosby, 79, arrived at the courthouse for Day 4 of the trial accompanied by another pair of celebrities, actor/comedians Joe Torry and Lewis Dix. Cosby's wife, Camille, and their four daughters have stayed away so far but he has enlisted friends from his Hollywood career to support him, including former movie co-star Sheila Frazier on Wednesday and Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his TV daughter on The Cosby Show, on Monday.
The jury is not expected to hear from Cosby at the trial; he has said he won't testify and as a defendant, he does not have to.
The jury has already heard from Cosby's accuser, Andrea Constand, and from her mother, Gianna Constand, and from one other of the dozens of women who have accused Cosby of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them in episodes dating back to the mid-1960s.
Now the prosecution, led by District Attorney Kevin Steele and Kristen Feden, are expected Thursday to use Cosby's own words, given under oath in a deposition in the civil suit Constand filed against him in 2005, to argue that Cosby allegedly followed a criminal pattern in his sexual behavior with women over four decades.
In the deposition, Cosby acknowledged he acquired drugs, including the now-banned sedative quaaludes, to give to women he sought for sex. He also acknowledged he repeatedly engaged in sexual relationships with young women he met as one of the most popular and powerful men in Hollywood.
The deposition had been sealed since the 2006 settlement of the civil suit but parts of it were released by a judge, on a petition from the media, in the summer of 2015 after dozens of women began going public to accuse Cosby of being a serial rapist. Those accusers believe Cosby's words in the deposition back up their accusations.
But none of them have been able to pursue Cosby in criminal court, because of statutes of limitation, except for Constand, 44, a former Temple University basketball official. She says she was drugged and molested by her friend and mentor, Cosby, at his home nearby in 2004; he says their encounter was consensual.
Steele, who campaigned for district attorney in 2015 by promising to pursue Cosby under Pennsylvania's lengthy statute of limitations, cited the unsealed deposition as new evidence for charging Cosby in December 2015 in connection with Constand's accusations, more than a decade after their encounter.
Constand, who testified on the stand for eight hours over two days, stuck to her story that she went to Cosby's home to meet him alone to discuss her career, that Cosby gave her pills he assured her they were harmless, and that she became nearly paralyzed — "frozen" — after she took them. As she lay helpless on his couch, he groped her breasts and vagina and placed her hand on his penis, she testified.
The Cosby defense team, led by Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa, tried to raise doubts about discrepancies in details of her story, including the date of the encounter, and pressed her on why she remained in contact with Cosby after the encounter, via dozens of phone calls. Constand dismissed the discrepancies as mistakes of memory (she didn't report the encounter to authorities until a year later) and explained the phone calls as related to her job managing the Temple University basketball team.
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