The New Zealand Herald
Cosby’s defence expected to claim settlement a sign of greed
The defence in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial was expected to use its opening statement today to portray a US$3.4 million ($4.64m) settlement paid to the woman he’s charged with sexually assaulting as evidence of her greed.
Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau had signalled that he intended to use the settlement to argue that Andrea Constand falsely accused the man once revered as “America’s Dad” in hopes of landing a big payoff.
District Attorney Kevin Steele revealed the previously secret settlement amount in his opening statement yesterday, but didn’t connect the dots to the prosecution’s earlier suggestions that Cosby wouldn’t have paid out so much money if the accusations against him were false.
Mesereau, who secured an acquittal in Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation case, has said the jury will learn “just how greedy” Constand was.
The settlement amount had been confidential — and was kept out of the first trial — but a judge ruled that both sides could discuss it at this one.
Cosby, 80, is charged with drugging and molesting Constand, a former employee of Temple University’s basketball programme, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
Constand says he gave her pills that made her woozy, and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay incapacitated, unable to tell him to stop.
Cosby’s first trial last year ended with the jury hopelessly deadlocked. His retrial is expected to last a month.
Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Ahead of opening statements, a topless protester, who had appeared on several episodes of The Cosby Show as a child, jumped a barricade and got within metres of Cosby as the comedian entered the courthouse.
The woman, whose body was scrawled with the names of more than 50 Cosby accusers as well as the words “Women’s Lives Matter”, ran in front of Cosby and toward a bank of TV cameras but was intercepted by sheriff’s deputies and led away in handcuffs.
The protester, Nicolle Rochelle, 39, of Little Falls, New Jersey, was charged with disorderly conduct and released.
“The main goal was to make Cosby uncomfortable because that is exactly what he has been doing for decades to women,” Rochelle, a member of the European feminist group Femen, said afterward.