NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby’s chief accuser is set to take the witness stand on Friday at his sexual assault retrial, making for a climactic courtroom showdown after five other women told jurors that the man once revered as “America’s Dad” is a serial rapist who harmed them too.
Andrea Constand’s appearance is her second chance to confront Cosby in court, since his first trial ended without a verdict. This time, though, she’s facing a defense team intent on portraying her as a “con artist” who framed him for money.
Constand, who turned 45 on Wednesday, says Cosby drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004, when she was a women’s basketball administrator at his alma mater, Temple University.
It’s the only allegation among dozens against Cosby that has led to criminal charges. He says the encounter was consensual, but paid $3.4 million in 2006 to settle a civil lawsuit Constand filed after the district attorney at the time dropped the case.
Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau told jurors in an opening statement on Tuesday that Constand was a pauper who stiffed roommates on bills, racked up big credit card debt and once ran a Ponzi scheme until she “hit the jackpot” when Cosby paid her.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told reporters before he walked into the courthouse with the comedian Friday that defense lawyers expect that “once the jurors hear the testimony of Andrea Constand that they should find Mr. Cosby not guilty of all charges.”
He said that Cosby’s new defense team has “had the opportunity to thoroughly research her testimony and statements” from last year and found “even more inconsistencies.”
Wyatt on Thursday derided the five additional accusers who testified as “distractors” and “advocates for the prosecution and Andrea Constand.” Just one other accuser was permitted to take the stand at Cosby’s first trial.
Wyatt said the women traded in “poetic licensing, better known as alternative facts” and were pawns in an “‘Ocean’s 11’-style script” cooked up by lawyers Gloria Allred and her daughter, Lisa Bloom, “to extort Mr. Cosby for $100 million.”
Allred floated a proposal that Cosby set aside a chunk of his fortune to compensate accusers, but he never agreed.
“Since this American citizen didn’t adhere to Ms. Allred’s ransom notice, she paraded in a stable of women to destroy his legacy, his career and reputation,” Wyatt said.
Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, called the attacks on her client “outrageous” and “baseless,” and ripped Cosby’s team for trashing her reputation in the courtroom — where lawyers are immune from defamation lawsuits — and in statements to the media.
“I’d love to see if he thinks he’s going to prove any of this,” Troiani told The Associated Press. “What basis does he have for any of this? So he gets to say whatever he wants and once again they go outside, they slander her outside of the courtroom and what is her recourse?”
Troiani was peeved at the defense for fighting to disclose the settlement figure to jurors in what she said was a clear violation …read more
Source:: Deseret News – World News