Cosby defense focuses on accusers’ credibility as trial continues

8 Jun


NORRISTOWN, Pa. Prosecutors in entertainer Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial on Thursday were expected to present a psychological expert who will testify that inconsistencies in his accusers’ accounts are normal because sexual trauma victims often have trouble recalling certain details.

The expert witness was also expected to tell jurors that such victims’ behavior may seem illogical to outside observers.

The prosecution counter-move was expected on the trial’s fourth day, after Cosby’s defense tried to cast doubt on the 79-year-old comedian’s accusers by pointing out inconsistencies in their accounts over the years.

Kelly Johnson and Andrea Constand have told jurors hearing the case in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Cosby drugged and violated them.

Constand, a former administrator for the women’s basketball program at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University, has accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

Cosby, star of the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show,” has faced similar allegations from dozens of women. He has denied all of the claims.

The trial is centered on Constand’s accusation, the only one against Cosby to result in criminal charges.

Prosecutors called Johnson to try to persuade jurors that Cosby engaged in a pattern of abuse. Like Constand, Johnson has accused Cosby of drugging and violating her, in her case at a Los Angeles hotel in 1996.

Cosby’s lawyers have emphasized discrepancies in both women’s accounts. A lawyer who worked for Cosby’s former talent agency, where Johnson worked at the time, said she previously testified that the incident occurred in 1990, not 1996.

Constand gave several inconsistent statements to police in 2005, when she first reported the incident, telling officers she had never been alone with Cosby before and changing her estimate of when the assault occurred.

Constand testified that she made mistakes prompted by the difficulty of remembering every detail under extreme emotional stress.

Defense lawyers have also pointed to dozens of calls she made to Cosby in the weeks after the incident and suggested her previous encounters with him, including a private dinner by the fire at his home, were romantic.

Constand said she viewed Cosby as a mentor and friend and maintained contact with him due to her position at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and the school’s most celebrated alumnus.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

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