Prosecutor Kevin Steele suggested that the size of the 80-year-old entertainer’s payment to Andrea Constand indicated Cosby had something to hide after years of attacking other women in strikingly similar ways. A topless demonstrator disrupted the trial.
Bill Cosby paid Andrea Constand nearly $3.4 million to settle her 2005 lawsuit, a payment a prosecutor said was meant to buy her silence after the entertainer sexually assaulted her at his Pennsylvania home, reports Philly.com. That sum, hidden for more than a decade behind a confidentiality agreement, was revealed by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele in his opening statement to jurors at Cosby’s retrial. Its disclosure came near the end of a day that was marked by unexpected disruptions, first by a topless demonstrator who charged the 80-year-old entertainer outside the courthouse, then by an unsuccessful effort by the defense to oust a juror from the case.
It was only the first sign that Cosby’s second sexual assault trial was shaping up to be far different than the first, which ended in a hung jury and mistrial. At June’s trial, both sides avoided any mention of the lawsuit, which Constand filed after prosecutors in 2005 declined to pursue a case against Cosby based on her allegations that he had drugged and assaulted her. This time, however, Steele and Cosby’s defense team see Constand’s legal action – and the amount she received to settle it – as central to their case. Steele suggested that the size of the payment indicated Cosby had something to hide after years of attacking other women in strikingly similar ways. “When this happened with Andrea Constand, there was no mistake that there was no consent,” he told jurors. “When someone is drugged, they don’t have the ability to consent.” Cosby’s defense lawyer, Tom Mesereau, has characterized Constant, the former Temple University women’s basketball manager, in pretrial arguments as a gold-digging opportunist who fabricated her claims against Cosby in an attempt to win a big payday in court.