By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
On the fifth day of the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial, the prosecution called Veronique Valliere to the stand. Valliere, a sexual assault expert, perfectly characterized the tone of the case against the embattled comedian: confident, flawed and ultimately misleading.
Valliere appeared as a “blind witness,” meaning that prosecutors had previously assured jurors that she held no bias towards Cosby and had no interest in the case; later, the defense would prove that both of those claims were false.
During testimony for the prosecution, Valliere described what she called usual and unusual patterns of a sexual assault victim; she also explaining why some victims would wait to report the incident, like Andrea Constand did, the woman at the center of the case against Cosby.
However, on cross-examination, lead defense attorney Brian McMonagle, exposed the fact that Valliere was not only biased, but that she also had previously expressed interest in the controversy around the case.
“You’re biased in this case, aren’t you?” McMonagle asked.
When Valliere denied that she was biased, McMonagle showed the court a Facebook post from Valliere’s company that linked to a Washington Post article about the Cosby case.
While having never stumbled in any of her responses to questions from prosecutors, Valliere’s memory appeared tested as she said she couldn’t remember, if she had posted the article.
Also, despite clear evidence that she made the comments on the post, she also initially refused to admit to them.
“Victory the case lives on,” read one of her posts.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill still denied Cosby’s lawyers’ motion for a mistrial.
O’Neill has continuously ruled against Cosby’s team, including several pre-trail and in-trial motions that could have leveled the playing field in the case.
Perhaps the most controversial ruling was the inclusion of Cosby’s deposition, where he admitted that he’d offered Quaaludes to women that he wanted to have sex with.
In early testimony, it was revealed that Cosby most likely provided former Temple University employee Andrea Constand with Benadryl and not Quaaludes, seemingly rendering testimony about the sedative mute.
Still, the deposition may not have struck a chord with jurors, who had been taking notes, but appeared to stop when prosecutors showed the statement on a big screen in the courtroom.
Also, in the deposition, Cosby never said he’d given Constand Quaaludes and the women he’d given them to, all consented to what he said was considered the party drug of that time period.
“They became, in those days what was known as ‘high,’” Cosby said in the statement.
Earlier a local police sergeant, who had been sitting in the courtroom throughout the trial, testified about his interviews with Cosby and Constand.
The officer, Cheltenham Township County police Sgt. Richard Schaffer, claimed Constand immediately wanted to tell him her side of the story, but he told her “to hold back.”
Three times Schaffer, who later was observed by onlookers as having unauthorized contact with some jurors, sarcastically called Cosby “a real gentleman.”
Cosby, 79, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the three counts of second-degree aggravated indecent assault he’s charged with. Cosby has maintained that his encounters with Constand were consensual and that she never objected to him providing her a Benadryl pill to “relax.”
In several sworn statements, neither Constand nor Cosby contradict the comedian’s account that Constand took the pills willingly.
Testimony also has shown that, prior to the January 2004 incident at Cosby’s Elkins Park, Pa., home, Cosby and Constand had engaged in some intimate contact.
“When she said ‘stop,’ I stopped,” Cosby said in his statements.
Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, told reporters there’s still a chance the comedian may take the stand in his own defense. Jurors will likely deliberate early next week.