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Bill Cosby is a free man, for now anyway, because a jury never could agree on whether one of TV’s most comforting dads drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his mansion outside Philadelphia in 2004.

Constand, 44, is the only one of dozens Cosby accusers whose report led to a criminal trial because in the other cases, the statute of limitations had expired.

Though the prosecution wanted to present testimony from 13 others who have said that the comedian drugged and/or violated them, the judge allowed the jury to hear from only one of them. That made it a lot easier for the defense team to attack Constand and her credibility.

Cosby’s defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, offered a classic, off-the-rack depiction of Constand as a fabulist and willing participant on the “romantic” night Cosby gave her pills “to relax” and then “danced outside (his) marriage.” At the time, she was working for the women’s basketball program at his alma mater, Temple University, where he was not just a revered alumni but also a trustee.

In a closing as unnaturally sweet and sticky as a Jell-O pudding pop, McMonagle argued that even the best dads aren’t perfect: “We try to be, but we’re not … sometimes we’re wrong.” Jurors thus no longer saw the defendant, who is 79 and legally blind, with “the adoring eyes of children. … I told you that when you look over here, you’ll see different things: You’ll see a great comedian, an artist, who taught us not only how to smile but how to love.”

Looking at Cosby, who thankfully did not teach me how to smile or how to love, I saw not good old Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show, but a man accused publicly by some 60 women across the decades. Those women, and in fact all other sexual assault victims and their supporters, were put on trial by the defense, too. “We know why we’re here. Let’s be real. … We’re not here because of Andrea Constand. We’re here because of them,” McMonagle said, shouting and pointing at the back of the courtroom, where other accusers were sitting.

I also looked at Cosby and saw one lucky guy. He’s still supported by his wife of five decades, Camille. And to a remarkable extent, he was spared the national avalanche of attention that his trial would normally have attracted by all the high drama surrounding the self-proclaimed p—y-grabber in the White House.

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Source: USA TODAY / Melinda Henneberger

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