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Closing arguments to begin in Cosby's sexual assault trial

Bill Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, a former administrator of the Temple University women’s basketball team in January 2004.

Actor Bill Cosby performs at the King Center for the Performing Arts on 21 November 2014 in Melbourne, Florida. Picture: AFP

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - The prosecution and Bill Cosby’s defense team are expected to begin closing arguments on Tuesday in the retrial of the entertainer, who is accused of drugging and raping a one-time friend more than a decade ago.

Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, 45, a former administrator of the Temple University women’s basketball team, at his Philadelphia home in January 2004.

Cosby, who declined to testify on his own behalf on Monday, has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he had was consensual.

He also did not testify at his first trial on the same charges last year, when the deadlocked jury was unable to reach a verdict, leading prosecutors to try him again. The current trial, now in its third week, began on 9 April.

About 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, sometimes after drugging them, going back decades. All the accusations, apart from Constand’s, were too old to be the subject of criminal prosecution.

If convicted of all three counts, he would probably face at most 10 years in prison as a first offender under state sentencing guidelines, although Pennsylvania law allows for a maximum penalty of three consecutive 10-year sentences, a prosecution spokeswoman said.

Earlier on Monday, Cosby’s lawyers used phone and flight records from January 2004 to try again to convince the jury that he was not at his Philadelphia home at the time of the alleged crime.

The timing is crucial since Cosby was not criminally charged until December 2015, just days before the 12-year Pennsylvania statute of limitations would have expired. The defence has sought to show that a consensual encounter occurred earlier than January 2004.

Douglas Moss, an expert on aviation record keeping, said Cosby’s trips around the United States in January 2004 were accurately reflected in flight logs kept by his private jet pilot, who now suffers from dementia.

District Attorney Kevin Steele sought to show that Cosby could have used other modes of transport to travel to Philadelphia.

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