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Bill Cosby goes on trial, his freedom and legacy at stake

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/5/2017 By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press
Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. Pulliam played Cosby’s youngest daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby went on trial Monday on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago, with a prosecutor warning the jury not to fall into the trap of confusing the 79-year-old comedian with the beloved family man he played on TV.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Cosby used his power and fame to violate an employee of Temple University's basketball program, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden said in her opening statement. The TV star previously admitted under oath that he gave Andrea Constand pills and touched her genitals as she lay on his couch, the prosecutor said.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

"She couldn't say no," Feden said. "She can't move, she can't talk. Completely paralyzed. Frozen. Lifeless."

ADDS NAME - Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press ADDS NAME - Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial with Keshia Knight Pulliam, right, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle immediately attacked what he said were inconsistencies in Constand's story, disputed that Constand was incapacitated, and made the case that she and Cosby, who was married, had a romantic relationship. McMonagle said Cosby gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl only after she complained she couldn't sleep.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Monday, June 5, 2017 in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

McMonagle said that Constand changed the date of the encounter from mid-March to mid-January of 2004. And he said Constand initially told police that she and Cosby had never spoken after the encounter, when, in fact, phone records show the two spoke 72 times after mid-January — and two-thirds of the calls were initiated by Constand.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) © The Associated Press Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, June 5, 2017. More than a decade after Cosby invited a college basketball manager to his home to discuss her career, the comedian goes on trial in the only criminal case to emerge from the dozens of sexual assault allegations lodged against him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Cosby's wife, Camille, was absent as the TV star, using a wooden cane, hobbled past dozens of cameras into the courthouse. He chatted with actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy on the top-rated "Cosby Show," as they walked together.

FILE - In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. Cosby goes on trial Monday, June 5, 2017, in suburban Philadelphia in a sexual assault case that will largely rest on the testimony of Constand. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right) © The Associated Press FILE - In this combination of file photos, entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014, and Andrea Constand poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 1, 1987. Cosby goes on trial Monday, June 5, 2017, in suburban Philadelphia in a sexual assault case that will largely rest on the testimony of Constand. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, left, and Ron Bull/Toronto Star/The Canadian Press via AP, right)

Cosby smiled but said nothing when someone asked how he was feeling.

FILE - This Oct. 25, 1982 file photo shows comedian, actor and author Bill Cosby. On Monday, June 5, 2017, Cosby goes on trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press FILE - This Oct. 25, 1982 file photo shows comedian, actor and author Bill Cosby. On Monday, June 5, 2017, Cosby goes on trial on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. (AP Photo)

Constand, 44, of the Toronto area, is expected to take the stand this week and tell her story in public for the first time. Feden said a woman who claims Cosby drugged and assaulted her in a similar fashion in 1996 will also testify.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2002 file photo, members of Bill Cosby's television family, the Huxtables, gather in NBC's Today show studio for an interview with co-host Katie Couric, in New York. From left are Sabrina Le Beauf, Tempest Bledsoe, Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Phylicia Rashad, Raven Symone and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2002 file photo, members of Bill Cosby's television family, the Huxtables, gather in NBC's Today show studio for an interview with co-host Katie Couric, in New York. From left are Sabrina Le Beauf, Tempest Bledsoe, Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Phylicia Rashad, Raven Symone and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Cosby built a good-guy reputation as a father and family man, on screen and off, during his extraordinary 50-year career in entertainment. He created TV characters, most notably Dr. Cliff Huxtable, with crossover appeal among blacks and whites alike. His TV shows, films and comedy tours earned him an estimated $400 million.

FILE - In this 1974 file photo, comedian Bill Cosby prepares to hit the ball as Australian World Cup team captain and playing partner Fred Stolle watches during an exhibition tennis match in Hartford, Conn. Cosby and Stolle teamed against actor Robert Culp and American World Cup team member Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Bob Child) © The Associated Press FILE - In this 1974 file photo, comedian Bill Cosby prepares to hit the ball as Australian World Cup team captain and playing partner Fred Stolle watches during an exhibition tennis match in Hartford, Conn. Cosby and Stolle teamed against actor Robert Culp and American World Cup team member Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

Then a deposition unsealed in 2015 in a lawsuit brought by Constand revealed an unsavory private life marked by a long history of extramarital liaisons with young women. Dozens of women came forward to say he had drugged and assaulted them.

FILE - This August 1972 file photo shows comedian Bill Cosby from the Saturday morning cartoon show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." Cosby created and starred in the cartoon series based loosely on his Philadelphia childhood that promoted good behavior and morality. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This August 1972 file photo shows comedian Bill Cosby from the Saturday morning cartoon show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." Cosby created and starred in the cartoon series based loosely on his Philadelphia childhood that promoted good behavior and morality. (AP Photo, File)
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The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby had run out in nearly every case. This is the only one to result in criminal charges against the comic.

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 1965 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby, right, and his wife, Camille, arrive at the TV Academy awards in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Camille Cosby released a statement on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in support of her husband. The statement is the first public comment from Cosby's long-time wife since a wave of sexual assault allegations began swirling several weeks earlier. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 12, 1965 file photo, actor-comedian Bill Cosby, right, and his wife, Camille, arrive at the TV Academy awards in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Camille Cosby released a statement on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in support of her husband. The statement is the first public comment from Cosby's long-time wife since a wave of sexual assault allegations began swirling several weeks earlier. (AP Photo, File)

Feden told jurors that celebrities like Cosby are seen as "larger than life."

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife, Camille, laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby, left, and his wife, Camille, laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit, "Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

"We think we really know them," she said. "In reality, we only have a glimpse of who they really are."

FILE - In this April 1, 1982 file photo, John H. Johnson, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines, left, and actor Bill Cosby, center, join the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a benefit reception for Operation PUSH in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press FILE - In this April 1, 1982 file photo, John H. Johnson, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines, left, and actor Bill Cosby, center, join the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a benefit reception for Operation PUSH in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo)

Prosecutors had wanted to call as many as 13 of Cosby's more than 60 accusers as witnesses, but Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill ruled that only Constand and the other woman could take the stand.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, Bill Cosby, host of the Playboy Jazz Festival, right, and Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner greet each other at a party to announce the lineup of the upcoming 30th annual festival, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The festival will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, Bill Cosby, host of the Playboy Jazz Festival, right, and Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner greet each other at a party to announce the lineup of the upcoming 30th annual festival, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The festival will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who showed up for the first day of the trial, told reporters she is hopeful "there will be justice in this case."

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 16, 2006 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby raises his arm to the audience on the campus of University of the District of Columbia in Washington. The panel discussion on issues facing low income Americans is being called a "Call Out with Bill Cosby". (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 16, 2006 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby raises his arm to the audience on the campus of University of the District of Columbia in Washington. The panel discussion on issues facing low income Americans is being called a "Call Out with Bill Cosby". (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Allred represents several of Cosby's accusers, including a woman who worked for the comedian's agent at the William Morris agency. She will be the only other accuser allowed to testify for the prosecution.

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby addresses a gathering at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington. Bill Cosby doesn't plan to testify when he goes on trial Monday June 5, 2017 on sexual assault charges, but the rambling, disturbing testimony he gave a decade ago in the accuser's civil suit could prove just as crucial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2004 file photo, Bill Cosby addresses a gathering at the 34th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington. Bill Cosby doesn't plan to testify when he goes on trial Monday June 5, 2017 on sexual assault charges, but the rambling, disturbing testimony he gave a decade ago in the accuser's civil suit could prove just as crucial. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

"I'm not going to predict what the outcome is," Allred said. "We'll see what the evidence is. But this case is not going to be decided on optics, it's going to be decided on the evidence, and finally, it's Mr. Cosby who's going to have to face that evidence and confront the accusers who are against him."

Constand filed a police complaint in 2005 over the night a year earlier, when, she says, Cosby drugged her and put his hand down her pants.

The district attorney at the time said the case was too weak to prosecute. But a new set of prosecutors charged Cosby a year and a half ago after the deposition became public and numerous women came forward.

In one of the more explosive disclosures in the deposition, Cosby said he had obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women before sex.

On Monday, McMonagle suggested Constand and the other accuser set to testify were seeking payouts over the allegations. And he told jurors that Cosby apologized to Constand's mother in a phone call the year after the encounter not because he had assaulted her, but to say, "I'm sorry, I'm a married man, and I never should have done it."

Cosby's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out. They said Cosby testified in the lawsuit only after being promised he could never be charged. And they argued that the delayed prosecution makes the case impossible to defend, given that witnesses have died, memories have faded and Cosby, they say, is blind.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

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For more on Cosby, including trial updates, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit: www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial

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