Adaland Mansion to host spring teas 217

MORGANTOWN — Spring has arrived at Adaland Mansion and with it comes the beginning of Adaland’s 2018 season of events.

The annual Mother’s Day Buffet will be held May 13, with three seatings. Adaland’s veteran cook Lucy Williamson promises to set the buffet table with a homecooked menu of two entrees, a variety of sides, crisp salad with Williamson’s secret dressing, home-baked bread and rolls and a dessert sideboard. For reservations available for the few remaining seats, call 304-457-2415 or 304-457-1587.

The third spring event at Adaland is the annual Blue & Gray Tea. This June 2 buffet tea is one that has been part of the Annual Blue & Gray Reunion for many years on the weekend that commemorates the first land battle of the Civil War, fought in Philippi, Va., on June 3, 1863.

The many re-enactors who attend the tea provide fun photo opportunities. Additionally, tea guests are always treated to traditional tea finger-foods and fresh fruits. Reservations for the 10 a.m. tea may be made by calling the aforementioned phone numbers.

For more information about Adaland Mansion, its 2018 calendar of events, renting the mansion for private events including weddings, and booking bus tours, visit adaland.org or Adaland Mansion at Philippi on Facebook.

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CELEB: Copperfield returns to stand in British man injury lawsuit 28

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas Strip headliner David Copperfield is due to return to the witness stand in a lawsuit by a British tourist who claims he was seriously hurt in a fall while taking part in one of Copperfield’s signature illusions in 2013.

The magician resumes testimony Tuesday after last week revealing secrets behind a trick that appears to make volunteer audience members vanish onstage and appear a few moments later in the back of the theater.

Plaintiff Gavin Cox of Kent, England, alleges he fell after being hurried by stagehands through an MGM Grand hotel alleyway coated with a powdery residue near a trailer-sized trash bin.

Copperfield’s lawyers lost pretrial bids to close proceedings to the public to avoid revealing performance secrets

Cox and his wife are seeking unspecified damages.

UPDATE: In closing, defense calls Cosby accuser ‘pathological liar’ 40

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers urged a jury Tuesday to acquit the 80-year-old comedian of sexual assault charges they said were based on “flimsy, silly, ridiculous evidence,” arguing he was falsely accused by a “pathological liar” scheming for a big payday.

The first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era was nearly in the hands of a jury after the defense declared that Cosby himself was the victim of an elaborate frame-up.

Lawyers Tom Mesereau and Kathleen Bliss said in their closing argument that chief accuser Andrea Constand consented to a sexual encounter at Cosby’s home in suburban Philadelphia, then leveled false accusations against the “Cosby Show” star so she could sue him and extract a big settlement.

“You’re dealing with a pathological liar, members of the jury,” Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau said. “You are.”

Prosecutors were to deliver their closing argument next. The jury was expected to get the case later in the day.

The former TV star was accompanied Tuesday for the first time in the trial by his wife of 54 years, who sat in the gallery as his lawyers pleaded with the jury to clear him. Camille Cosby, 74, had been absent from the courtroom as the prosecution built its case that Cosby maintained a sordid double life that involved preying on women sexually.

Before the jury came in, she went to the defense table and put her arm around her husband. They embraced, smiled and chatted, and he gave her a peck on the cheek.

Constand, 45, alleges Cosby knocked her out with three pills he called “your friends” and molested her in January 2004. Her account was bolstered by the testimony of five other women who took the stand and said Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, too — including one woman who asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

Cosby has said he gave Constand 1½ tablets of the over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to help her relax before what he called a consensual encounter. And the defense ripped into the other women, saying they were motivated by the prospect of money and fame to come forward in recent years with fabricated accounts.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each carrying up to 10 years in prison.

The jury at Cosby’s first trial weighed the evidence for more than 52 hours over six days last year without reaching a verdict.

This time, his defense team mounted a far more aggressive effort to stoke doubts about Constand’s credibility and raise questions about whether Cosby’s arrest was even legal.

Their star witness was Marguerite Jackson, a former Temple University colleague of Constand’s who testified that Constand spoke of framing a high-profile person for the purpose of filing a lawsuit. Constand received nearly $3.4 million from Cosby over a decade ago — a settlement that Mesereau argued was “one of the biggest highway robberies of all time.”

“He thought he was paying for peace. He didn’t get it,” the lawyer said.

In a two-hour, tag-team closing argument, Mesereau and Bliss highlighted more than a dozen inconsistencies in what Constand has said over the years. Mesereau, best known for winning an acquittal in Michael Jackson’s 2005 child-molestation case, showed jurors a list of what he said were Constand’s “biggest lies” and displayed excerpts from her police statements and testimony to help back up his claims.

He also painstakingly reviewed phone and travel records for Cosby and Constand, as well as a schedule for the Temple women’s basketball team where she worked, saying they are proof the alleged assault couldn’t have happened when she says it did. Prosecutors have noted that Cosby’s travel records have large gaps in time.

The date of Cosby’s encounter with Constand is important because of when he was charged. Prosecutors reopened the case in 2015, and he was charged late that year — just before the 12-year statute of limitations was set to expire.

Bliss argued that Cosby, once revered as America’s Dad, was an innocent man caught up in the “emotion and anger” of the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct. Cosby was arrested years before #MeToo became a cultural force and took down famous men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.

Bliss also suggested that Constand and Cosby were having an affair, and that she was the aggressor, “cavorting around with a married man old enough to be her grandfather.”

“There’s no doubt that something was going on here,” Bliss said. “There’s no doubt there was love in the making.”

Wearing sunglasses in the courtroom, Cosby’s wife smirked and pursed her lips a few times but otherwise listened stoically.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission. Constand has done so.

UPDATE: Cosby defense team lobs attacks in court of public opinion 123

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Jurors weren’t allowed to hear testimony that Bill Cosby’s chief accuser was once hooked on hallucinogenic mushrooms or had her sights set on becoming a millionaire, but that hasn’t stopped the defense from airing the explosive claims about Andrea Constand in the court of public opinion.

With Cosby’s sexual assault retrial heading for deliberations this week, the 80-year-old comedian’s lawyers and publicists are increasingly playing to an audience of millions, not just the 12 people deciding his fate.

They’re hitting at Constand’s credibility in the media with attacks that Judge Steven O’Neill are deeming too prejudicial or irrelevant for court, and they’re holding daily press briefings portraying Cosby as the victim of an overzealous prosecutor and an unjust legal system.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt has decried Constand’s allegations of drugging and molestation as “fantastical stories” and deemed District Attorney Kevin Steele an “extortionist” for spending taxpayer money on the case.

Wyatt was silent on Monday morning, though, as Cosby and his team arrived at the courthouse in suburban Philadelphia for Day 11 of the retrial.

Lawyer Dennis McAndrews, who’s been in court following the retrial, said prominent defendants like Cosby almost always play to the court of public opinion when there’s no gag order, but that his team’s approach hasn’t been “particularly effective or convincing.”

“It is so strident, and it is so hyperbolic, I think most people will turn it off,” said McAndrews, who prosecuted chemical heir John E. du Pont for murder in 1997 and is not associated with either side in the Cosby case.

O’Neill is expected to rule Monday on what could be the Cosby team’s last line of attack in the courtroom: whether jurors can hear deposition testimony that Cosby’s lawyers say could have insights into what led Constand to accuse him.

Constand’s confidante, Sheri Williams, gave the testimony as part of Constand’s 2005 lawsuit against Cosby, which he wound up settling for nearly $3.4 million. Cosby’s lawyers said that testimony is vital because Williams is not responding to subpoena attempts.

Cosby’s lawyers are expected to call an agent and an aviation consultant to the witness stand on Monday as they continue to make the case that he never visited his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004 — the month Constand says he knocked her out with pills and molested her there.

The date is important because Cosby was not charged until December 2015, just before the 12-year statute of limitations was set to expire.

Cosby’s lead attorney, Tom Mesereau, opened the retrial by calling Constand a “con artist” who framed Cosby for a big payday. Her former Temple University colleague Marguerite Jackson testified that Constand once mused about setting up a high-profile person.

Mesereau raised Constand’s alleged drug use on Friday in a courtroom full of reporters, but no jurors, saying bus driver Robert Russell’s testimony would contradict her claims of living a healthy, holistic life. Wyatt repeated the allegations to the TV cameras outside the courthouse.

Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, said in an interview that she had serious doubts about Russell’s claims that Constand made extensive use of mushrooms and marijuana when they were friends in Toronto in 2001.

“This lady is a health nut,” said Troiani.

In court, Mesereau argued that Russell’s testimony would crack Constand’s “false aura” that she’s the “purest person” and undercut the prosecution’s suggestion that she’s “some innocent babe in the woods.”

“According to her close friend for a number of years, that’s nonsense,” Mesereau said.

O’Neill swiftly rejected the drug testimony, saying Constand’s behavior three years before the alleged assault was irrelevant.

He also prevented Russell from testifying that Constand went to the U.S. with a goal of becoming a millionaire, saying it was too broad a claim to have any relevance to the assertion that she framed Cosby for money.

Some damage was already done, Troiani said.

“It is absolutely part of their strategy to smear her reputation,” Troiani said. “They know they have judicial immunity, so they can say these things whether or not there’s a basis in fact.”

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