Jurors serving on Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial will begin deliberations earlier than expected, as Cosby’s defense team rested after only six minutes of testimony from a single witness on Monday.
Cosby never took the stand.
Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to accuse the veteran comic of sexual assault, but his high-profile trial concerns only the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand, who accused the Cosby Show star of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2004 at his Pennsylvania townhouse.
As Crime Online previously reported, both the prosecution and defense lawyers faced challenges in selecting a jury pool that was not biased on way or another, given both Cosby’s longtime popularity and the high-profile allegations against him.
F. Lee Bailey, who famously represented O.J. Simpson at his 1995 murder trial before being disbarred several years later, spoke to Crime Online about why he thinks Cosby can have a fair trial despite the highly public allegations against him.
The renowned attorney attended the first annual CrimeCon in Indianapolis this weekend, delivering a talk to a packed audience about the impact of media coverage on high-profile trials.
Later, he sat down with Crime Online and talked more about why he thinks Cosby may be found not guilty by the jury in his sexual assault trial, despite the widespread public perception — based on dozens of alleged victim accounts describing a similar scenario — that Cosby did in fact sexually assault multiple women.
“A strong judge and a skilled defense lawyer can effectively neutralize that prejudice with strict instructions,” Bailey said over Eggs Benedict.
“The judge almost has to bark at the jury, and put the fear of God in them” that they do not bring any personal bias to their deliberations.
“That’s why I think he’s got a shot.”
Bailey seemed unconvinced that all of the allegations against Cosby are true.
“Let’s face it. Women have very good reason to cry rape in some cases. And a lot of them do it spuriously.Explaining why it’s legally sound for Cosby to be on trial for only the allegations brought by one accuser, Bailey said, “You can’t fold that all into a single trial and ask a jury to sort it out.”
“Some of them may be telling the truth, some of them may be telling the truth and be wrong, and some may be lying,” Bailey said of the accusers.
Earlier in the conversation, when not specifically discussing the Cosby trial, Bailey had been speaking about circumstances in which he said an accuser can unwittingly make a false allegation based on a distorted perception of events. A victim can “tell the truth and be wrong,” he said, if they believe their version of events, even if that version does not accurately represent what happened.
He used an example of a woman believing she had been impaired past the point of being able to give consent when the person accused of assaulting her believed she had in fact consented.
In Cosby’s case, it does not appear that he put a priority on consent, admitting in a 2005 deposition that he gave quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.
In a deposition read to the jury last week, Cosby reportedly said that he gave Constand Benadryl, an over-the-counter hypnotic antihisthamine, to “relax” her.
During his talk at CrimeCon, Bailey appeared to question whether Benadryl would have been enough to impair Constand past the point of consent.
“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” he said at one point during his talk.
Later, he told Crime Online that a jury will have to decide Cosby’s guilt based on one factor one factor alone.
” … The issue is, did he put his finger in the [vagina] of this girl when she was disabled. And that’s the only issue. ”
Feature photo: Associated Press