EXCLUSIVE: After days of sitting in court listening to his accuser and other witnesses give impugning testimony in the criminal trial over his alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand, Bill Cosby is thinking of taking the stand in his own defense, I’ve learned.
The potentially dramatic change in tactics for Cosby and his defense team comes after previous assertions by the 79-year-old actor that he would not testify in the trial that just wrapped its fourth day in a Norristown, PA courtroom. While there were discussions behind closed doors earlier today that Cosby could be sworn in and questioned Friday, the actor’s team is now holding off to see how things go in front of Judge Steven O’Neill tomorrow and early next week.
On Thursday afternoon during a break in the proceedings, The Cosby Show creator’s PR rep Andrew Wyatt told Deadline that his client was in a “good mood” about the trial. If found guilty by the jury of seven men and five women for three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault, the actor could face more than 10 years behind bars.
Cosby’s team did not respond to request for comment on his potential testimony.
Alhough Cosby has been accused by more than 60 women of drugging and sexually assaulting them, the trial in the Philadelphia suburb is the only criminal case against him. The statute of limitations has long since expired on all the known cases except the one involving former Temple University employee Constand.
Picking up on the 2005 case reopened by his predecessor Risa Vetri Ferman nearly two years ago, newly elected Montgomery County D.A. Kevin Steele charged Cosby just before the expiration of Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations on such sex crimes. The actor was arraigned on December 30, 2015 and released on $1 million bail without entering a plea. After months of unsuccessfully trying to get the case dismissed, he has since pleaded not guilty.
While Cosby has not taken the stand yet in the trial, his voice and words have been a big presence in the Keystone State courtroom. Today saw two local investigating police officers read out on the stand long portions of interviews and depositions by Cosby. On Wednesday, a taped phone conversation between Constand’s mother and Cosby was played for the courtroom. The jurors, judge, media and onlookers heard Cosby offer in 2005 to “set up something” like paying for graduate school for Andrea Constand after the ex-Director of Operations for Temple’s women’s basketball staffer told her family what she says Cosby did to her a year earlier.
A poised Constand testified under oath for almost 10 hours Tuesday and Wednesday. Previously, ex-William Morris assistant Kelly Johnson was in the courtroom recounting her allegations of being drugged and sexually assaulted in 1996 by Cosby at the Hotel Bel-Air.
Originally set to last at least two weeks, the trial now looks ahead of schedule and could wrap mid-next week.
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