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Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial goes to the jury

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A Pennsylvania jury of seven men and five women was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday to decide whether to convict comedian and actor Bill Cosby of sexual assault, attempting to reach a verdict where a previous jury was hopelessly deadlocked.

Cosby, 80, the once-beloved comedian and TV dad who won over America on “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s, is on trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, 45, at his home outside Philadelphia in January 2004.

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The jurors, 10 white and two black, heard closing arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers on Tuesday. Starting Wednesday, they will receive instructions from Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill and begin their deliberations.

In his first trial last year, 12 different jurors deliberated five and a half days but remained deadlocked. The judge declared a mistrial, and prosecutors decided to try him again.

If convicted, Cosby, who has been free on bail, could be taken into custody immediately or may be allowed to remain out of jail until sentencing.

He faces up to 10 years in prison under state sentencing guidelines, although Pennsylvania law would allow the judge to impose up to three consecutive 10-year terms, one for each count.

In all, some 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault going back decades, though only Constand’s case was recent enough for criminal prosecution.

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She testified that the comedian drugged and raped her in 2004 and that she was terrified to tell anyone for months afterward.

As in the first trial, Cosby declined to testify on his own behalf. He has denied wrongdoing, saying any sexual contact he had was consensual.

The first trial ended in mistrial last June, just before a flood of sexual assault and harassment accusations against rich and powerful men gave rise to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

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 The first trial was largely bereft of demonstrations, except for the occasional protester outside the courthouse. In contrast this time, outbursts and protests unfolded inside and outside the courtroom.
As Cosby approached the courthouse for the first day of the trial, a bare-breasted protester ran toward him shouting, “Women’s lives matter.”

Later, when testimony began, a woman who said Cosby accosted her when she was 17 looked directly at him from the witness stand and blurted out, “You know what you did, Mr. Cosby.” Her break with decorum drew a swift admonishment from the judge.

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Reporting by David DeKok Writing by Daniel Trotta


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2020 Election

We should look closely at Britain’s decision to elect a man so renowned for his untrustworthiness

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In previous British elections, to say that trust was the main issue would have meant simply that trust is the trump card – whichever leader or party could secure most trust would win. Now, the emerging question about trust is whether it even matters anymore.

This is at least partly because Brexit has deepened the crisis of trust. The 2019 election was always going to be about Brexit – and not only because some people would vote according to where they stood on the matter. It was also because the emotional turbulence initiated by the 2016 referendum continues to dominate national politics in a more general way.

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Here are 9 things people say about exercise that are utter hogwash

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It can be hard to include exercise in our busy lives, despite the best of intentions. There are a lot of reasons people don’t exercise, and a lot of misconceptions about exercise. Here are nine common misconceptions about exercise and what research actually tells us.

1. I was fit once, so I don’t need to exerciseUnfortunately, the health benefits of exercise won’t last if you don’t sustain your exercise regime. A significant reduction or drop out can cause a marked loss of initial benefits, such as cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Consistency is the key. Mix it up and keep it interesting as maintaining high levels of physical activity throughout your life is associated with the best health outcomes.

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How Boris Johnson’s Conservatives swept to election victory in Labour heartlands

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Welcome to a whole new political world. The UK general election of 2019 has delivered a seismic shift in the balance of the country’s politics, the consequences of which are very hard, if not impossible to predict. But what’s clear is that Boris Johnson has broken the legislative deadlock with regard to Europe and will now wield power in a manner that his recent predecessors could only have dreamed of.

To this extent the political system appears to have worked – the people have spoken. Clearly they want to “get Brexit done”, but the result also suggests the existence of a major disconnect between the UK’s main opposition Labour party and a big chunk of its base.

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