Bill Cosby‘s defense attorney spent nearly two hours in his closing argument Monday detailing inconsistent statements Andrea Constand made to law enforcement after an encounter Constand alleges was sex assault but the defense says was consensual.
“Why are we running from the truth of this case, this relationship?” attorney Brian McMonagle asked the jury. “What’s happening here is wrong and the only people who can stop it is you…. A man’s life is at stake.”
Constand “said one thing yesterday. Another thing today,” McMonagle continued. “What is she going to say tomorrow? Unless your verdict in this case is not guilty, then I can assure you tomorrow will be too late.”
McMonagle also criticized prosecutors for reopening the case in 2015, after then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr., decided not to charge Cosby in 2005. The case was only reopened after transcripts of Cosby’s deposition in Constand’s long-settled civil suit became public, in which Cosby admitted to giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with in the 1970s, both sides agree.
“That’s what was going on. Back in the day,” McMonagle said. “That’s what he was talking about. Not one thing in that deposition is him saying anything at all about Andrea Constand and this case at all.”
“Quaaludes have nothing to do with this case,” McMonagle added. “If quaaludes could have been proved you’d have heard about it. We’re not here because of Andrea Constand. That was over in 2005. We’re here because of this nonsense.”
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He added, “If you have hesitation whether they have proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether a crime was committed and he committed it, then you must acquit,” he said.
The prosecution will present its closing argument after the lunch break.
Cosby, 79, is on trial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, 44, a former Temple University employee, at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges, insisting their sexual contact was consensual, and has denied similar allegations from more than 60 women. Constand, who is gay, says it was not.
While the prosecution took four and a half days to present its case against Cosby, the defense only took six minutes. McMonagle only called one witness, Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Township Police Department, a detective on the original case, to confirm statements he took by Constand in person and on the phone.
Schaffer had been a witness for the prosecution who testified last week that in 2005, he and other investigators were still pursuing leads in the case of Constand’s allegations against Cosby when then-Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., abruptly terminated the investigation.
Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, had dangled the possibility that Cosby might testify to reporters on Friday, but ultimately Cosby did not. Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill put Cosby under oath to make sure he approved of the fact that he wouldn’t testify, and the fact that only one witness was called on his behalf.
Cosby’s wife Camille walked into the courthouse with her husband of 50-plus years, but came into the courtroom itself about 30 minutes after him. She sat in the first row behind Cosby. Her face never changed expression, even as McMonagle repeated graphic details of what her husband said happened between he and Constand sexually.
Constand and her mother, Gianna, walked into the courtroom about 10:30 a.m. to sit on the prosecution’s side and to hear closing arguments. During closing arguments, Gianna left and was seen weeping in the hall outside the courtroom.
Defense Attorney: Constand’s Statement Was ‘Lie’
McMonagle spent his closing argument going over each of the statements Constand gave to police, pointing out what he said were inconsistencies in when it happened, whether or not the two of them had ever been alone prior to the incident and questioning why she had some lengthy phone conversations afterward, which Constand initially denied.
“That’s a lie. It’s not a fib,” McMonagle said of Constand’s prior statements about having no contact with Cosby after the alleged incident. “It’s not a mistake. It’s a stone. Cold. Lie.”
McMonagle said that in his opening arguments, he’d made several promises to jurors about what he would prove during the trial, and said he’d met all of them. At times, McMonagle became so passionate his face turned red.
“I promised you that during this trial you would find out that in 2005 the district attorney himself put together a team of great detectives and their investigation revealed that Ms. Constand was untruthful time and time again,” he said.
He painted Cosby as a flawed man — but not a rapist.
“I told you when you looked over here you would see different things,” he said, walking away from the jury to point to Cosby. “You would see a brilliant comedian … who not only [showed] us how to smile but how to love each other, no matter what we looked like.”
“As you look over there, you will also see someone who has been unfaithful,” he said. “We’re not perfect, are we?”