Bill Cosby’s defense team has rested its case in the comedian’s sexual assault retrial in Pennsylvania, and he will not take the stand as a witness.
Cosby was asked Monday afternoon by Judge Steven O’Neill whether it was true he intended to not testify. “That is correct, your honor,” said Cosby, shouting to the judge.
Last year, when a jury could not reach a verdict, Cosby didn’t testify either — his side didn’t even present a defense. This time, Tom Mesereau and his fellow defense lawyers called witnesses for four days, the strategy revolving around a woman who claimed accuser Andrea Constand told her she could fabricate a claim of sexual assault against a celebrity for a payday, and possible discrepancies with the prosecution’s timeline for when the alleged 2014 assault took place.
Closing arguments in the retrial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, PA will be held Tuesday morning, with jury deliberations beginning afterward. Last year, jurors could not reach a verdict after more than five days of deliberating, leading to a mistrial.
The defense’s case might’ve lasted longer this time if not for a couple of major decisions by O’Neill. The judge ruled that Cosby’s lawyer’s couldn’t introduce testimony taken from Constand’s friend Sheri Williams in a 2005 civil suit.Williams kept in close contact during the period Constand knew Cosby and started a business Cosby’s lawyers called a pyramid scheme, getting Constand to help. Cosby’s lawyers were unable to deliver a subpoena to Williams, and the prosecution argued against including the deposition testimony because it wouldn’t have an opportunity for cross-examination.
O’Neill also declined to let a private investigator testify for the defense. He would have gone through phone records to further cast doubt on the timeline of the alleged assault.
Constand testified she was assaulted at Cosby’s Philadelphia-area mansion in January 2004, after originally telling police it had been in March of that year. The comedian’s attorneys spent most of Monday morning playing up how often Cosby would have been away from his Philly-area residence in January 2004, using travel records and testimony from Roslyn Yarbrough, who was an executive assistant for Tom Ilius, Cosby’s agent at the William Morris Agency.
Yarbrough went through travel itineraries for Cosby for that month, revealing him to have been away for gigs in Florida, Arizona, Kentucky and Michigan on January 4-5, January 10-11, January 16-17, January 27-28 and January 30-31. On each trip, he left from his residence in New York and returned to his residence in New York, flying via private plane. Yarbrough testified Cosby was at his Philadelphia-area home “very rarely.”
Still, the travel dates covered just 10 of 31 days in January.
Another witness, pilot Douglas Moss, testified as an expert, corroborating the accuracy of the flight records. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked him whether Cosby could have taken other means of transportation between New York and his Philadelphia residence that wouldn’t have shown up on flight records. Moss said Cosby could have done that.
Mesereau, Cosby’s lead attorney, and Kathleen Bliss are expected to both speak for the closing argument tomorrow. Steele pushed back against it to no avail, saying it would be like giving the defense two closing arguments.