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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – Bill Cosby told a judge on Monday he would not testify in his own defense at his sexual assault trial, and his lawyers called a single witness before resting their case.
“Is it your decision not to testify?” Judge Steven O’Neill asked Cosby before the trial resumed since pausing for the weekend.
“Yes,” replied the entertainer best known for his starring role in the 1980s TV hit “The Cosby Show.”
Lawyers for each side are due to make their closing arguments later on Monday.
Cosby, 79, arrived at court on Monday accompanied by his wife and business manager, Camille Cosby, who had not previously made an appearance at the trial. She sat in the front row of the courtroom.
Cosby faces charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former employee at his alma mater, Temple University, at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.
Dozens of women have made similar accusations against Cosby stretching back to the 1960s, although only Constand has accused him of a crime that allegedly took place recently enough to allow for prosecution.
Cosby has denied all of the allegations.
The defense consisted of a single witness: Sergeant Richard Schaffer of the police department in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, who already testified for the prosecution and who investigated Constand’s case in 2005.
Prosecutors at that time declined to bring charges against Cosby. The case was reopened in 2015 after a federal judge unsealed portions of the comedian’s sworn deposition taken in 2005 and 2006 during Constand’s civil lawsuit, in which he acknowledged obtaining Quaaludes for young women.
Cosby’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle, asked Schaffer to confirm that notes he took during several interviews of Constand in early 2005 were accurate. McMonagle has previously emphasized discrepancies in Constand’s statements to law enforcement, including her shifting estimates of when the incident occurred.
Constand and another accuser, Kelly Johnson, told jurors last week that Cosby gave them pills to help them “relax.” The women said the drugs left them unable to resist his advances.
Cosby’s lawyers have pointed to dozens of phone calls Constand made to Cosby after the incident, as well as prior encounters in private at his home or at a casino hotel, suggesting Constand was pursuing a romantic relationship.
They have also focused on phone records showing Constand called several lawyers before she first reported the alleged assault to police in 2005, arguing she manufactured the story to go after Cosby’s fortune.
(Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)
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