Andrea Constand Keeps Cosby Assault Claims on Track at Retrial

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CN) – Denying that money has motivated her testimony against Bill Cosby, the 80-year-old’s chief accuser told jurors Friday there is one reason why she speaks out. “For justice,” said Andrea Constand.

Andrea Constand, center, returns from lunch during the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse on April 13, 2018, in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Corey Perrine, Pool)

Pairing a bright white blazer and sneakers with a coral top, Constand closed out the first week of Cosby’s retrial this afternoon immediately after the Montgomery County jury heard similar stories of assault from five other women whose claims against Cosby are too old to prosecute.

In Cosby’s first trial last year, which ended in a hung jury, Judge Steven O’Neill permitted testimony from only one of the dozens of women who have come forward in recent years with assault allegations against him.

Constand’s testimony Friday did not stray much from the account she gave to jurors in 2017. She described meeting Cosby through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she was director of operations for the women’s basketball team.

A former basketball player herself, 45-year-old Constand testified that she saw Cosby as a mentor and was not threatened by the occasional romantic passes he made at her.

“I thought it was a little bit absurd, given that Mr. Cosby was just a little bit younger than my grandfather,” Constand said. “He was a married man, and I absolutely showed no interest in him. But I wasn’t threatened, and I didn’t judge him.”

That changed on the night of her alleged assault, Constand said, telling jurors she had gone to Cosby’s home in Cheltenham, a suburb of Philadelphia, for career advice.

She said the comedian gave her three blue pills, calling them her “friends” and promising they would “help take the edge off.”

Constand found that they instead made her black out.

She recalled waking up to the sensation of Cosby penetrating her with his fingers, touching her breast and putting her hand on his penis.

Though she wanted to tell him to stop, Constand said she was unable to speak or move her arms and legs.

“I was weak. I was limp, and I just could not fight him off,” she said.

At 4 or 5 the next morning, Constand awoke to find her bra up around her neck and her pants half unzipped, she testified.

She said her exit was interrupted by Cosby, who invited her to take a muffin and tea from the kitchen.

Though previous court filings have noted that Constand is a lesbian, her sexual orientation has not come up at either trial.

Bill Cosby gestures to supporters as he departs his sexual assault trial on April 13, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Cosby’s defense attorney Tom Mesereau has focused instead on painting Constand as a con artist.

In his opening statement, Mesereau told the jury that Constand left roommates on the hook for bills, was buried in credit card debt and even ran a Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors alerted the jury to the $3.4 million civil settlement that Constand reached with Cosby in 2006, but Constand emphasized Friday that she has nothing to gain financially now by testifying against Cosby.

Cosby did not testify in the first trial but he has maintained that the pills he gave Constand were Benadryl, and that she consented to the sexual encounter.

His attorneys have called the testimony by the other five women as “prosecution by distraction.”

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred has represented several of Cosby’s accusers and told the Associated Press this afternoon that a settlement agreement Constand received shouldn’t be used against her. It should be viewed as compensation for a person “who had strong evidence she was victimized,” Allred said.

Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, called the defense attacks on her client “outrageous” and “baseless.”

“I’d love to see if he thinks he’s going to prove any of this,” Troiani said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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