Everything Need to Know About the Bill Cosby Trial
Unless you're living under a rock, you might have heard that there is a criminal trial underway in which the State of Pennsylvania PA is prosecuting Bill Cosby, former American television sweetheart and role model, for sexual assault. The allegations are that Bill Cosby allegedly drugged and raped the complainant, Ms. Andrea Constand, in March of 2004 outside Cosby's home in the Philadelphia area.
The trial began on Monday, June 5th at the Montgomery County Courthouse. The jury makeup is five men and seven women; two of the male jurors are black men.
What has happened so far in the Cosby trial?
On the second day of trial, Ms. Constand took the stand and testified against Cosby, followed by a lengthy cross-examination by one of Cosby's lawyers, Angela C. Agrusa, which continued through today and may go on for some time.
Cross examination topics so far have focused on the following:
- Ms. Constand delayed in reporting the incident to police.
- Ms. Constand never reported earlier social encounters, including one time in 2003 when she visited Cosby at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut CT and spent some time alone with in his hotel room, implying that there may have been prior consensual sexual acts between the two parties.
- Ms. Constand has given inconsistent testimony in a deposition from a previous civil law suit in which she denied ever being alone with Cosby prior to the unlawful acts alleged here in the criminal case. That has since been shown by Cosby's defense lawyers not to be the case.
- Ms. Constand had requested cell phone records from her employer, Temple University, and had recorded conversations suggesting that that she was planning and potentially targeting Cosby for a civil suit.
What is the Deal Cosby's Prior Deposition Testimony?
The prosecution will seek to admit former deposition testimony given in 2005 civil suit where supposedly Cosby admitted to using quaaludes in sexual acts.
Why Doesn't the Statute of Limitations Apply in this Case?
Pennsylvania has a twelve (12) year statute of limitations on rape or a sexual assault case. A statute of limitations is a state by state law that sets time limits in which the state has to bring charges against one accused of a crime or, in the civil context, in which to bring a claim. The acts alleged in the criminal complaint date back to January of 2006. In December of 2015, the state reopened old charges against Cosby, originally dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence, bringing new evidence to light from a previous civil case.
Who is Expected to Testify?
Following the conclusion of Ms. Constand's testimony, her mother is expected to take the stand. She will be there to corroborate her daughters accounts, no doubt which will be objected to as hearsay. In addition, Ms. Constand may be a foundational witness to introduce several recordings of conversations between her daughter and Mr. Cosby, the exact contents of which are unknown at this time.
In addition, the prosecution is expceted to call a drugs expert who will testify about the effect of quaaludes on one's behavior as well as another forensic psychologist expected to testify about sexual assault victim behavior. The latter will serve as the prosecution's effort to rebut the defense plan to attack Ms. Constand's credibility for not coming forward sooner. That Ms. Constand waited one year before reporting the incident will be one Cosby's defense team main sources of ammunition with which to attack her credibility.
Bill Cosby does not plan on taking the stand to invoke his 6th Amendment Right of Confrontation. If convicted, Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison.