Cosby accuser denies framing him, knowing witness
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby’s chief accuser at his sexual-assault trial on Monday denied framing him and said she doesn’t know a key witness who plans to testify that she spoke of leveling false accusations against a celebrity.
Andrea Constand told jurors she doesn’t “recall ever having a conversation with” Marguerite Jackson. Both women worked at Temple University around the time Constand says Cosby drugged and molested her at the comedian’s suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
The defense plans to call Jackson as a witness and says she will testify that before Constand lodged her allegations against Cosby in 2005, Constand had mused to her about setting up a “high-profile person” and filing suit. Jackson has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times.
A judge blocked Jackson from testifying at last year’s trial, which ended in a hung jury, after Constand took the stand and denied knowing her. At the time, Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Jackson’s testimony would be hearsay. Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby’s lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to acknowledge she “recalls a Margo.”
The judge has ruled that Jackson can take the stand at the retrial but indicated he could revisit the issue after Constand was finished testifying.
Jackson’s availability as a witness for Cosby could be crucial to a defense plan to attack Constand’s credibility and get jurors to believe she set Cosby up.
Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau, who has called Constand a “con artist” who framed Cosby and then collected a $3.4 million settlement, asked her about Jackson during cross-examination on Monday. She again denied knowing her.
The defense lawyer then asked, “Did you ever fabricate a scheme to falsely accuse him for money?”
“No, sir,” Constand replied.
Constand, 45, left the witness stand Monday after testifying for seven hours over two days.
She told jurors last week that Cosby knocked her out with pills and then sexually assaulted her. Cosby, 80, says Constand consented to a sexual encounter.
If convicted, Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of three charges.
Bill Cosby, center, arrives Monday for his retrial on sexual assault charges.