*Prosecutors on Monday said Bill Cosby knew full well what he was doing when he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004, while the defense launched an attack on the credibility of Constand and another Cosby accuser during opening statements in the 79-year-old comedian’s sexual assault trial.
As previously reported, Cosby arrived to the packed, media-filled Pennsylvania courthouse arm in arm with Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”
In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden told jurors the case doesn’t revolve around consent. She asserted that when Cosby “handed those pills to Andrea he knew what affect it would take” and he knew Constand would not be able to refuse his advances.
“Trust, betrayal, and the inability to consent. That’s what this case is about. … This is a case about a man, this man,” she said, pointing to Cosby, “who used his power and his fame and his previously practiced method of placing a young trusting woman in an incapacitated state so that he could sexually pleasure himself so that she couldn’t say no.”
The district attorney at the time of the alleged assault declined to press charges. Defense attorney Brian McMonagle pointed to the original prosecutor’s decision to say the case was “exhaustively investigated” at the time.
“Their investigation revealed that Andrea Constand had been untruthful time and time and time again,” he said.
Though more than 50 women have accused the former “I Spy” star of assault, the trial will focus on the testimony of Constand and one other accuser, who met Cosby through his agent at the William Morris talent agency. The woman, identified as Jane Doe was an assistant to Cosby’s agent, Feden said.
“Like Andrea, at a certain point in their friendship, he invited her over for lunch to discuss her career plans. Like Andrea, he gave her a pill. Like Andrea, she became incapacitated. Like Andrea, when she lost conscious the defendant grabbed her hand, placed it on his penis and masturbated himself,” the prosecutor told jurors.
Jane Doe alleges she was assaulted in 1996, but McMonagle questioned why she waited until January 2015 to come forward, and didn’t speak to police until 2016. The defense attorney further alleged that Jane Doe had a romantic encounter with Cosby in 1990 but turned down his advances during a 1996 visit to his home, which Cosby respected.
When William Morris sought to fire her for violating its policy on dating clients, Jane Doe filed a workman’s compensation lawsuit, alleging Cosby had harassed her, McMonagle said.
“What she did was eerily similar to Mrs. Constand,” McMonagle said, accusing both women of changing their stories repeatedly. “You will never see Mr. Cosby under oath running from anything.”
Ex-Playboy model Victoria Valentino, Florida nurse Therese Serignese and former actor Lili Bernard, all among Cosby’s accusers, were spotted in the courtroom’s overflow room, according to CNN. They are not expected to testify.
In opening statements from the defense, McMonagle went after Constand’s credibility, saying she originally told police she had never been alone with Cosby before the assault, that she went to dinner with Cosby and other friends then went back to his house before the assault and that she had no contact with Cosby following the assault.
The truth, McMonagle alleged, is that there was no dinner with friends — Constand went to Cosby’s home for career advice — and they spoke on the phone 72 times after the assault, with Constand initiating 53 of the calls. She had also been alone with him prior to the alleged assault, the attorney said, during a visit to his Foxwoods Resort Casino hotel room in Mashantucket, Connecticut. There, McMonagle said, she brought him incense and bath salts, they had dinner, cognac and brandy by the fire and she lay in bed with him.
The prosecution countered that the defense was trying to distract jurors by talking about inconsistencies, when most of Constand’s story is corroborated in Cosby’s deposition.