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Jurors Will Resume Deliberations In Sexual Assault Case Against Cosby

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Last night a jury was sequestered outside Philadelphia to begin considering the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby. The jury members have two versions of events to consider based on the closing arguments. Laura Benshoff reports from member station WHYY.

LAURA BENSHOFF, BYLINE: On Monday, accusers, lawyers and spokespeople alike sweltered on the steps of the Montgomery County Courthouse. Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt says his boss is confident he'll be found not guilty.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREW WYATT: Andrea Constand took an opportunity and seized upon it to distort this man, distort his legacy and his credibility, but it's not going to work.

BENSHOFF: Cosby faces three charges of aggravated indecent assault stemming from one evening encounter in early 2004. That night, Constand, an employee of Temple University in Philadelphia, went to Cosby's house for career advice. Cosby was a trustee at Temple.

She says Cosby gave her unknown pills that left her semi-conscious and then molested her. Wyatt, like the entertainer's defense attorney in closing arguments, focused on phone calls that Constand made to Cosby after the alleged assault.

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WYATT: Seventy-three calls - 53 calls made by Constand, 19 made by Cosby. But you were drugged by a man, why make calls when you're drugged by a man?

BENSHOFF: The calls came over a two-month period after the alleged assault and before Constand quit her job at Temple University. The defense only called one witness for about five minutes. Former prosecutor and veteran defense attorney Dennis McAndrews says Cosby didn't testify but the jury heard a lot of his words.

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DENNIS MCANDREWS: Because Cosby's statements came out over and over and over again.

BENSHOFF: Prosecutors used Cosby's sworn statements to show him as an attacker, whereas the defense says they show he has nothing to hide and that Constand didn't object. During closing arguments, lead defense attorney Brian McMonagle yelled into the rafters, imploring the jury not to take away an old man's tomorrows (ph). Gloria Allred, who represents some of the other accusers, says McMonagle's arguments could backfire.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GLORIA ALLRED: He was very brutal. And if I were on the jury, I would be completely turned off by that.

BENSHOFF: By contrast, local District Attorney Kevin Steele was more measured reading the state statute about indecent assault to jurors. Prosecutors had called expert witnesses to try to dispel concerns that jurors may have about Constand's one-year delay in reporting the alleged assault and all those phone calls Wyatt mentioned. Kristen Houser is with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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KRISTEN HOUSER: It's very normal that people wait to disclose. It's very normal that they maintain a friendship that was preexisting to the assault. It's normal that they're considering all the other factors in their life.

BENSHOFF: Constand is the only accuser out of more than 60 to come forward whose claims have resulted in criminal charges. Renewed interest in the cases was in part sparked by a video of the comedian Hannibal Burress joking about Cosby that spread across social media.

But as Judge Steven O'Neill pointed out, the jury will only have some very low-tech tools to reach their verdict - a large dry erase board and small yellow notepads. For NPR News, I'm Laura Benshoff in Norristown, Pa.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDITORY CANVAS' "SPRING RAIN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.