The Defense of Bill Cosby Rests With a Whimper


NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—The defense of Bill Cosby closed with a whimper on Monday after Cosby, for a second time, swore he had independently made his decision not to testify. Closing arguments are scheduled to happen on Tuesday, and then jurors will deliberate on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault filed against the famous comedian.

“You now have all of the evidence,” Judge Steven O’Neill told the jury.

The day started with the conclusion of a string of former employees from the William Morris Agency and the the Brokaw Company, which began on Friday. All had, in some ways, worked for Cosby or one of Cosby’s representatives. They were part of entering into evidence itineraries and schedules from Cosby’s travels from late December 2003 through January 2004. It was early 2004 when Andrea Constand said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in his Cheltenham home.

How the defense plans to use them will become more clear in closing arguments, but the insinuation by all the dates—which show Cosby at various locations, but not his Chettleham home, after December of 2003—is that Cosby wasn’t at home when Constand told police the assault happened. Or, if something did happen, it was in December of 2003, putting it outside the statute of limitations for aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania.

The testimony was mostly dry, with a similar feeling to the long slog of when last year’s defense team went through reams of phone records with very little clear point.

The testimony was mostly dry, with a similar feeling to the long slog of when last year’s defense team went through reams of phone records with very little clear point. It was conducted by defense lawyer Becky James.

The prosecution, in its charging documents, has never given an exact date, accusing Cosby of committing the assault sometime between January of 2004 and February of 2004. During his testimony, Montgomery County Det. James Reape said that investigators weren’t overly concerned about Constand’s early difficulty remembering the exact date because Cosby had admitted to a sexual encounter. The issues were Constand’s consciousness and consent.

On cross examination of the various witnesses—Rosalyn Yarbrough, Debbie Meister, and Kimberly Harjo—prosecutors pointed out that the itineraries and faxes weren’t definitive. There were plenty of days they didn’t cover, in which Cosby’s location and movements weren’t recorded. As for the December paperwork, prosecutor Stewart Ryan pointed out that the document shown in court, unlike several others, didn’t have the date, time, and phone number stamps typically left by fax machines.

How much Cosby was paid for his performances was redacted out of all the documents that referenced payment.

In other developments:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer has a story about how Camille Cosby has been active in strategizing her husband’s defense. Camille Cosby speaks to her husband every day, and is in touch with their PR team, the Inquirer reports. After the last trial, Camille Cosby issued a statement in which she accused the judge and district attorney of conspiring against her husband. She called lawyers for the accusers “totally unethical” and District Attorney Kevin Steele “heinously and exploitively ambitious.”
  • Right now, defense lawyers Tom Mesereau and Kathleen Bliss say they are planning to split up their closing argument—with Mesereau dong part of it, and Bliss doing part of it.
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