Monday, 21 May, 2018

Bill Cosby´s chief accuser says she wants justice in sex trial

Bill Cosby center leaves his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday Cosby lawyers portray accuser as 'con artist' seeking payout
Nicole Thomas | 14 April, 2018, 12:30

Andrea Constand told a jury Friday that Bill Cosby, a man she viewed as a friend and mentor, tricked her into taking a powerful drug and then humiliated her for his own sexual gratification.

"I thought it was absurd, given that Mr. Cosby was just a little younger than my grandfather", Constand testified.

The comments came after the prosecution in Cosby's sexual assault retrial asked her to describe what she allegedly went through at the hands of the actor at his Philadelphia home in 2004.

"When we were finished Gardener left and Cosby said, 'We'll continue this conversation upstairs, ' so I followed him to his room".

She said Cosby offered her pills after she said she was "stressed" about telling the Temple women's basketball coach of her plans to leave to study massage therapy in her native Canada.

Cosby, dressed in a dark suit, tie and white shirt, looked variously in Constand's direction and down at the table as she spoke. She said Cosby told her, "Put them down".

In her testimony CNN reports she said, "I wanted to hit him, I wanted to punch him in the face".

Constand said her next memory was waking up between 4 and 5 a.m, with her bra around her neck and her trousers "half unzipped". I was in shock. "And I was really confused".

Ms Constand, 45, told jurors on Friday that she has nothing to gain financially now by wanting Cosby locked up.

Bill Cosby's lawyers are trying to undermine his chief accuser's credibility by questioning why she promoted an alleged pyramid scheme.

During almost three hours of cross-examination, which will continue on Monday, defense attorney Tom Mesereau established a total of nine face-to-face visits between Cosby and Constand before and after the alleged attack and asked whether Constand had ever seen Cosby's wife during those meetings.

Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau is going through a thick binder of police statements and prior testimony as he probes discrepancies between what Andrea Constand has said in the past and what she said on the witness stand.

"My vagina was being penetrated quite forcefully", she said.

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"I was very scared", she testified.

But the three counts against Constand is the only criminal case to stick, as most of the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute. As a physically fit former professional basketball player, she was confident she could handle him.

Constand said at the dinner Cosby put his hand on her thigh, and then at another he tried to unbutton her trousers. He was a married man and I absolutely never showed an interest. "But I wasn't threatened by him and I didn't judge him".

Cosby is on trial, once again, facing three charges of aggravated indecent assault against the former Temple University employee.

Cosby's first trial in Norristown, a Philadelphia suburb, ended in a hung jury in June, with a sequestered panel hopelessly deadlocked after six days of testimony and 52 hours of deliberations.

For this trial, prosecutors had the strategic advantage of putting Constand on the witness stand after a parade of other accusers who told jurors that Cosby had used the same tactics on them: preying on women who saw him as a mentor, debilitating them with pills or alcohol and then violating them when they were unable to fight back.

Constand testified she chose to report the assault to police in January 2005, about a year later, jarred to action by a nightmare and an increasing awareness of consent issues from her ongoing massage therapy training.

She said she began to get dizzy and started feeling sick and seeing double.

The now 80-year-old entertainer has said he gave Constand the cold medicine Benadryl and that she consented to a sexual encounter.

Jackson, a longtime Temple official, has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times.

Constand has denied ever saying what Jackson claims she said.

Constand testified that while she "recognized the name", she doesn't ever remember rooming with Jackson and that she didn't formulate the rooming arrangements. His lawyers have portrayed Constand as a gold-digging con artist. She said Cosby reached his arm out and walked her to a sofa.

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