International: Jurors begin deliberations in Bill Cosby's trial

Monday, June 12, 2017 - 15:00

Jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial have started deliberating whether he drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago.

They got the case late Monday afternoon after each side delivered closing arguments.

The 79-year-old entertainer is charged with violating Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

His lawyer told the jury that the comedian and the Canadian woman who accuses him of drugging and molesting her were lovers who had enjoyed secret "romantic interludes."

Prosecutors countered by saying "fancy lawyering" can't save Cosby from his own words — namely, his admission about groping Toronto's Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate after giving her pills he knew could put her to sleep.

"Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It's criminal," District Attorney Kevin Steele said in his closing argument.

The jury of seven men and five women was expected to get the case later in the day.

A conviction could send the 79-year-old Cosby, once one of the most beloved entertainers in all of show business, to prison for the rest of his life.

The two sides launched into their closing arguments after the defence put on a case that consisted of just one witness — a detective — and six minutes of testimony. Cosby himself chose not to take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.

Legal experts said testifying would have been a risky move that could have opened the TV star to withering cross-examination about some of the 60 or so other women who have accused him of drugging or molesting them in a barrage that has all but destroyed his nice-guy image.

Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle said that while the comedian had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn't commit a crime.

He said that the comic's 2004 sexual encounter with Constand was consensual and that they had been intimate before.