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Bill Cosby sex case jury to resume deliberations

The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has been sent home after deliberating without reaching a verdict over whether the veteran entertainer drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago.

A conviction could send Cosby, 79, to prison for the rest of his life, completing the stunning late-life downfall of one of the most beloved stars in showbusiness.

Jurors at the court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, were put on the case at about 5.30pm local time and met for about four hours before being sent home late on Monday night, with deliberations resuming in the morning.

The fast-moving case went to the jury of seven men and five women on day six of the trial after closing arguments gave differing portrayals of what happened between Cosby and Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said Cosby and Ms Constand were lovers who had enjoyed secret "romantic interludes", insisting the 2004 encounter was consensual.

McMonagle said that while the comedian had been unfaithful to his wife, he did not commit a crime.

Prosecutors said "fancy lawyering" could not save Cosby from his own words - namely, his admission about groping Ms Constand after giving her pills he knew could put her to sleep.

"Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It's criminal," district attorney Kevin Steele said.

Before asking to go back to their hotel, jurors asked to see a portion of Cosby's decade-old evidence from a civil action filed against him by Ms Constand.

They told the judge they wanted the "full context" of Cosby's testimony about the pills he gave to Ms Constand, which he had described to her as "friends".

"I have three friends for you to make you relax," Cosby said he told Ms Constand, according to a deposition transcript reread to the jury.

After the prosecution took five days to outline its side, the defence case consisted of just one witness, a detective, and six minutes of evidence earlier in the day.

Cosby did not take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.

Legal experts said testifying would have been a risky move that could have opened the TV star to withering cross-examination about some of the 60 or so other women who have accused him of drugging or molesting them.

He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each one punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.

The black comedian, once known as America's Dad for his portrayal of kindly Dr Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, suggested recently that race could have played a role in the case against him.

The jury included two black members.

In his closing argument Mr McMonagle tried to sow doubt about Ms Constand's story, saying it had evolved during her interviews with police.

He also said she phoned Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault.

Ms Constand told the jury she was merely returning his calls about the women's basketball squad at Temple University, where she was director of team operations and he was a member of the board of trustees.

Cosby's wife of 53 years, Camille, was in court for the first time in the trial.

She was stoic during the defence argument but left when it was the prosecution's turn.

She sat in the front row, across the aisle from Ms Constand, who did not react to Mr McMonagle's two-hour closing, but smiled at the end of it.

Ms Constand, 44, told the court last week that Cosby gave her three blue pills and then molested her against her will as she lay paralysed and half-conscious.

She denied they had a romantic relationship and said she had rebuffed previous advances from him.

She sued Cosby after prosecutors declined to press charges in 2005 .

Cosby testified over a decade ago as part of that lawsuit, eventually settling with her for an undisclosed sum.

His deposition was sealed for years until a judge released parts in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, prompting a new set of prosecutors to take a fresh look at the case and charge him.

In the prosecution's closing argument, Mr Steele said Cosby's lurid statements from 2005 helped corroborate Ms Constand's allegations.

Mr Steele also reminded jurors about a telephone conversation in which Cosby apologised to Ms Constand's mother and described himself as a "sick man".

"This is where all the fancy lawyering can't get you around your own words," he said.

In his 2005 deposition, Cosby said he obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s and offered the now-banned sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with.

He also said he gave Ms Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before the "petting" began.

Prosecutors have suggested he drugged her with something stronger, perhaps quaaludes.

AP

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