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Bill Cosby Retrial: Jury’s First Question in Deliberations Is a Doozy

Jurors ask court for the legal definition of consent

Bill Cosby’s retrial stemming from accusations made by Andrea Constand went to the jury after nearly two and a half weeks of retrial on Wednesday, following an entire day of closing arguments on Tuesday (which were met with some objections on both sides that Judge Steven T. O’Neill dealt with afterward).

About two hours into jury deliberations, though, the jury’s first question for the court arose, and it was one the court could not answer: “What is the legal definition of consent?” In essence, that question is the crux of the entire case and what it represents in this country, particularly during the current #MeToo era.

Cosby is being re-tried on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, stemming from former Temple University employee Constand’s accusation that the comedian molested her in 2004 at his home outside of Philadelphia.

Cosby’s initial trial in the matter ended in a mistrial in July 2017 after the jury was unable to reach a verdict following five days of deliberations.

Later on Wednesday, the jury also asked to have the testimony of defense witness Marguerite Jackson re-read to them. Jackson, who worked with Constand at Temple University, testified that Constand said that Constand could profit from falsely accusing a high-profile person of assault. The jury’s request to hear the testimony again was denied.

During the retrial, Cosby’s defense team painted Constand, who settled a civil suit against Cosby for $3.38 million dollars more than a decade ago, as a “con artist” and “pathological liar.”

During closing arguments Tuesday, Cosby himself received a tongue-lashing from prosecutor Kristen Feden, after he appeared to be laughing and smiling while the prosecution made its argument.

Feden interrupted herself to exclaim, “He’s laughing like it’s funny! But there’s absolutely nothing funny about stripping a woman of her capacity to consent.”

Feden spared nothing in her half of the prosecution’s closing arguments, walking right over to the comedian in the courtroom, pointing at him and stating, “This man sitting right here. This is the man who artfully assaulted Constand in such a way … that she had no idea about.”