Bill Cosby lawyer scours Andrea Constand's words, looking for doubt

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby's chief accuser has given evidence at his sexual assault retrial, telling a jury she wants justice after five other women told the court he was a serial rapist who harmed them too.

What was the accuser's relationship with Cosby?

Cosby's lawyer, who has blasted Constand as a "con artist" who levelled false accusations against the star as part of a scheme to get money from him, began what was expected to be a blistering cross-examination by going through a thick binder of Constand's police statements and prior testimony, pointing out discrepancies between what she said in the past and her testimony Friday.

Constand said she made a decision to go to police in January 2005, about a year after the encounter, jarred to action by a nightmare and an increasing awareness of consent issues from her ongoing massage therapy training.

Constand said that her phone calls to Cosby were about basketball and had nothing to do with romance. He says the encounter was consensual, but paid $3.4 million in 2006 to settle a civil lawsuit Constand filed after the district attorney at the time dropped the case. If convicted, the former TV star best known for his No. 1 family sitcom "The Cosby Show" faces up to 10 years in prison on each of three related aggravated indecent assault charges.

Cosby arrived at the rain-soaked suburban Philadelphia courthouse on Monday morning wearing a black raincoat and walking under a large, black umbrella held by his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. However, the judge insisted that they persisted to deliberate Cosby's future.

Mesereau said Constand told police in 2005 that she called Cosby from her university-issued cellphone just before she arrived at his house on the night of the alleged assault to ensure the gate would be open. The defence plans to call Jackson as a witness and says she will testify that Constand mused about framing a celebrity before she lodged sexual abuse allegations against Cosby in 2005.

She told the jury she had nothing to gain financially by wanting Cosby locked up, saying "there is no upside" to her testimony.

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The defence is trying to cast Constand as an unrequited lover who acted inappropriately by showing interest in the long-married Cosby. Instead, she viewed him as a mentor and friend so she accepted his invitation to go to his home when she was deciding to leave her job at Temple.

Bill Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually molesting Andrea Constand in his Cheltenham Township home in 2004. Mesereau asked, wondering in front of jurors if she'd ever offered to give back the money.

Though he had made two passes at her, she said she was clear to him that she had no romantic interest in him, and she testified that she did not feel threatened by him.

Andrea Constand's appearance was her second chance to confront Cosby in court after his first trial ended with a hung jury. She said she passed out and then she awoke to find Cosby penetrating her with his fingers, touching her breast and putting her hand on his penis. Cosby's lawyer downplayed Cosby's actions by claiming Constand was turning the situation around on Cosby.

Mesereau opened the retrial last week with a blistering attack on Constand, telling jurors that she is a "con artist" who framed the comedian and cashed in with a US$3.4 million (NZ$4.6 million) settlement.

Mesereau argued that Constand's answers have varied on such details as the date of the alleged assault, how often she dined out with Cosby, whether she made a point of wearing a cashmere sweater he gave to her. and where she wound up when she visited his room at a CT casino.

Her allegation is the only one among dozens against Cosby that has led to criminal charges. But Mesereau showed her a 2005 deposition in which she testified that she told her mother she'd occasionally been affectionate toward him. She testified that she barely remembered it. "I didn't know where to turn". She said she was hesitant to get involved when prosecutors reopened the criminal investigation in 2015, saying she feared a flood of media attention and pain for her loved ones but chose to cooperate because it was the "right thing to do".

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