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Three defense witnesses to testify in Cosby sex assault retrial


NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) – Three witnesses are expected to testify on Friday for the defense in the trial against comedian Bill Cosby, who is accused of drugging and sexual assaulting a former friend more than a decade ago.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby walks through the Montgomery County Courthouse during his sexual assault retrial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 19, 2018. Mark Makela/Pool via Reuters

Andrea Constand, 45, contends the former star of “The Cosby Show” gave her three little blue pills he said would help her relax and then sexually assaulted her at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.

Judge Steven O’Neill said he anticipated the jury to begin their deliberations next week. The first trial against Cosby ended in a mistrial in June.

Cosby, 80, says any sexual contact with Constand was consensual. He could face 10 years in prison if convicted.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby arrives for the tenth day of his retrial for his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania on April 20, 2018.Dominick Reuter/Pool via REUTERS

The identity of the defense witnesses due to appear was not made public before Friday’s court session.

On Thursday, Timothy Rohrig, a forensic toxicologist from Wichita, Kansas, called as the final prosecution witness, testified about the effects of Benadryl and Quaaludes, which Cosby in a 2005 deposition said he used to seduce women. Rohrig said the pills could have left Constand feeling incapacitated.

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Constand testified last week that after swallowing the pills she experienced double vision, slurred her words, had dry mouth, and her legs felt “rubbery,” even paralyzed. She was an administrator for the women’s basketball team at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University.

“All these symptoms she described, and the timing of the symptoms, were consistent with the ingestion of diphenhydramine,” Rohrig said, using the generic name for Benadryl. The drug is commonly used for allergies.

The same symptoms also could have been caused by Quaaludes, which additionally make the user “very sleepy,” he testified at Montgomery Count Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Quaaludes are a sedative.

About 50 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting them, sometimes after plying them with drugs or alcohol in a series of alleged attacks dating back decades. Constand’s charge is the only one recent enough to be the subject of criminal prosecution.

Cosby’s defense team, which has portrayed Constand as a money-hungry con artist, aimed to cast doubt on Constand’s statements that the pills left her so impaired she could not resist.

A toxicologist testifying for the defense, Dr. Harry Milman, called Benadryl “one of the safest drugs on the market” and said Quaaludes were not available in the Philadelphia area in 2004.

Editing by Alison Williams

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