Cosby Accuser Talked of Framing a Celebrity, Witness Says


Ms. Jackson testified that Ms. Constand then changed her story and told her that it actually hadn’t happened after all.

“She said: ‘No it didn’t. I could say it did. I could quit my job. I could get that money,’” Ms. Jackson recalled.

Ms. Jackson, 56, is a 31-year employee of the university and now works as an academic adviser in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Mr. Cosby’s defense team hopes the testimony from an experienced, mature voice will be taken seriously by the jurors and undercut Ms. Constand’s credibility.

Photo

Mr. Cosby with his publicist, Ebonee Benson, during a break at the courthouse.

Credit
Pool photo by Corey Perrine

The defense has portrayed Ms. Constand, 45, as a con artist who preyed on a lonely, older, wealthy entertainer and hatched a plot to siphon money from him. He paid her $3.38 million in a settlement that closed a 2005 lawsuit that she had filed against him after prosecutors initially balked at filing criminal charges in the case.

Ms. Constand’s account — that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby at his home near here in January 2004 after he incapacitated her with three blue pills — was bolstered last week by the accounts of five other women who testified that they, too, believe they were drugged and sexually assaulted by him.

Mr. Cosby, 80, has said the sexual contact with Ms. Constand was consensual, and he has denied the other women’s accounts.

Ms. Constand’s credibility has been a prime focus of the retrial, as it was last summer when the first trial ended with a hung jury.

Ms. Jackson, who worked with the athletic department as an adviser between 2002 and 2006, told the jury Wednesday that she recalled her hotel room conversation with Ms. Constand in 2005, when the story broke that Mr. Cosby had been accused of assault.

“The conversation we had came back to me,” she said.

She said she decided to come forward in 2016, after Mr. Cosby had been charged in the case, when she met a comedian on a cruise who said he could put her in touch with Mr. Cosby’s representatives.

On cross-examination, M. Stewart Ryan, an assistant district attorney, pointed to discrepancies and elaborations between statements Ms. Jackson has given at various points, such as quote marks that were added to the phrases she says Ms. Constand uttered. He suggested they had been added at the suggestion of Mr. Cosby’s lawyers, such as Kathleen Bliss, who had questioned Ms. Jackson during direct examination.

“Who put the quotation marks?” Mr. Ryan asked.

“Kathleen. Kathleen put the quotation marks because it is a direct quote,” she said. Later she said that she and Ms. Bliss had made other changes together.

The prosecution questioned why she had taken so long to come forward and also produced Temple expense records that showed she had not submitted any claims for reimbursement associated with travel with the team in 2004, though she had in 2003. Ms. Jackson said she had traveled with the team a half-dozen times but did not remember filing any expenses.

Photo

The editor and publisher Judith Regan at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., where she testified on Wednesday.

Credit
Pool photo by Corey Perrine

Ms. Jackson had been blocked from testifying at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But in a major victory for the defense side, Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas allowed her testimony this time after the defense brought forward two former Temple colleagues who said Ms. Jackson and Ms. Constand did know each other.

During her testimony this week, Ms. Constand said of Ms. Jackson, “I recognize the name,” but she denied ever having shared a room with her.

Mr. Cosby is presenting a more extended defense in this trial after calling only a single witness last summer, a detective who testified for only six minutes.

Earlier in the day, the prosecution finished presenting its case, which included testimony from Judith Regan, the publisher of a 2002 memoir by one of Mr. Cosby’s accusers. She told the jury that the accuser, Janice Dickinson, had told her about being drugged and raped by Mr. Cosby but that her legal department would not allow publication of the accusation because there was no corroboration of the claim. Ms. Dickinson told the jury last week that her efforts to publish the accusation had been blocked by the publisher of “No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel.”

Ms. Regan confirmed that account, saying, “She wanted the rape story in the book, and she was insistent and angry that we wouldn’t include it.”

Under questioning by Mr. Ryan, Ms. Regan said she believed Ms. Dickinson’s claim that she had been raped, saying she found her “credible” and indicating that she had given her account “with great emotion.”

During the civil suit that Ms. Constand filed against Mr. Cosby, he acknowledged in a deposition that he had once obtained quaaludes, a powerful sedative, to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That testimony was read out loud in the courtroom Wednesday to the jury as part of an effort by the prosecution to show that Mr. Cosby had a predilection for using drugs to incapacitate women.

Mr. Cosby’s lawyer had objected to the reading, suggesting there was no evidence that the three pills Mr. Cosby acknowledges giving Ms. Constand at his home were quaaludes. Mr. Cosby has said they were Benadryl.

In the deposition from 2005, Mr. Cosby had been asked by Ms. Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, “When you got the quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” according to a transcript read in court.

“Yes,” Mr. Cosby replied.

Correction: April 18, 2018

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for the corporate parent of Regan Arts, the company led by Judith Regan. The corporate parent is Phaidon Global.

Correction: April 18, 2018

Continue reading the main story

Andrea Constand to the Cosby Jury: ‘I Could Not Fight Him Off’


In more than two hours on the stand, led by Kristen Gibbons Feden, a special prosecutor, Ms. Constand described how an older man she respected, and who was a major source of career guidance, took advantage of her trust.

She recalled meeting Mr. Cosby, a famous alumnus of Temple University, where she worked, during a basketball game in 2002. She was working as an administrator for the women’s team, and she said he subsequently called her office and invited her to dinners at his houses in New York and Connecticut. On two earlier occasions, she said, she had rebuffed his advances.

Only once did she pause in her testimony, and that was just before she began to provide a graphic, detailed accounting of what she said happened at the Cosby home near Philadelphia in January 2004. Mr. Cosby gave her three blue pills, she said.

She testified that he said: “‘Put ’em down. They will help you relax.’”

“I began to see double vision,” she continued.

“I was very scared,” she said. “I didn’t know what was happening, why I was feeling that way.”

Photo

Bill Cosby, center, arriving at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania for the fifth day of his sexual assault retrial.

Credit
Pool photo by Corey Perrine

Her court appearance followed several days of testimony from five other women who said they believe they, too, had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby.

As part of Mr. Cosby’s defense, his lawyers have said they will bring forward an academic adviser at Temple, who said she had roomed with Ms. Constand during university basketball trips and that Ms. Constand had once told her before the incident with Mr. Cosby that she could fabricate a claim of sexual assault about a celebrity to get money.

The adviser, Marguerite Jackson, was barred from testifying at the first trial after Ms. Constand told the court she did not know her. But Mr. Cosby’s lawyers are expected to challenge that testimony when they cross-examine Ms. Constand.

Prosecutors seemed interested in taking some of the sting out of that effort on Friday morning when they asked Ms. Constand about the adviser.

“I recognize the name,” she said this time. But asked if she had ever roomed with her, she said, “No.”

In recent days, the defense has worked to find holes in the other women’s accounts, suggesting that their accounts were not credible and were probably motivated by money or media attention.

Mr. Cosby, 80, is not charged with assaulting the other five women who have testified, but prosecutors hoped to show a pattern of predatory behavior by Mr. Cosby that eventually targeted Ms. Constand, 45. At the first trial, prosecutors were allowed to introduce only one other accuser to bolster Ms. Constand’s account.

Mr. Cosby has denied any inappropriate behavior and said the sex with Ms. Constand was consensual.

After the encounter, Ms. Constand said, she went to his house several weeks later to confront him. Mr. Cosby discussed the night a bit, suggesting he thought she had had an orgasm, but then evaded her questions, Ms. Constand testified.

As Ms. Constand spoke, Mr. Cosby sometimes sat back in his chair at the defense table, listening carefully. At times, he stared at the ceiling as she described the night of their encounter.

Ms. Constand said she feared retaliation from Mr. Cosby if she were to speak out, but she told her mother nearly a year later. Together, they spoke to Mr. Cosby, who, she said, admitted to giving her pills and penetrating her with his fingers, and using her hand to masturbate him.

“After a very short time on the telephone with my mom there, he eventually apologized for doing what he did, but he would not tell us what he gave me,” she said. “He said I don’t know. I have to go check the prescription bottle.”

Mr. Cosby has said the pills he gave Ms. Constand were Benadryl.

Ms. Constand’s lawsuit against Mr. Cosby ended in 2006 with a $3.38 million settlement. She sued after prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pa., initially declined to bring charges against Mr. Cosby. In the years after the settlement, she moved to North Carolina and started her own business before moving back to Toronto, where she lives now and works as a massage therapist.

Continue reading the main story

Janice Dickinson at Cosby Trial: ‘Here Was America’s Dad on Top of Me’


Ms. Constand, a former Temple University employee, says Mr. Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home near here in 2004. Prosecutors introduced the other accounts saying they demonstrate Mr. Cosby’s signature pattern of predatory behavior.

But Mr. Cosby has denied any inappropriate behavior and said the sex with Ms. Constand was consensual. His first trial, last summer, ended with a hung jury.

His defense team made a sustained effort to shake Ms. Dickinson’s credibility, pushing her to acknowledge that a memoir she published in 2002 made no mention of an assault. Reading from the book in the courtroom, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., a defense lawyer, said that Ms. Dickinson wrote she never entered Mr. Cosby’s room and ended up taking two quaaludes in her own room, alone.

Photo

Mr. Cosby arriving to his trial on Thursday.

Credit
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

“You told a tale to the jury today that is completely different from the book,” he said. “You made things up to get a paycheck.”

But Ms. Dickinson said she had been advised by her publishers to leave out the assault for legal reasons.

“You take poetic license in what you do,” she said. “Today I am on a sworn Bible.”

Four other women have told the jury of being drugged and assaulted by Mr. Cosby.

Ms. Dickinson, now 63, a reality TV celebrity, said she was working as a model in New York in 1982 when Mr. Cosby approached her through her agency and invited her to his Manhattan house to talk about acting.

Soon afterward, she said Mr. Cosby flew her to Lake Tahoe where she watched him perform, and they had dinner and discussed her career. She said she went to his hotel room to continue their conversation, and there she snapped some pictures — which were shown to the courtroom — of Mr. Cosby in a colored bathrobe and cap talking on the telephone.

Ms. Dickinson said that because she was knocked out by the drugs, she does not fully remember the sexual assault. But when she woke up, she said, she found herself back in her own room, alone. “I noticed semen between my legs, and I felt anal pain,” she said. “I felt very, very sore.”

The publisher of Ms. Dickinson’s memoir, Judith Regan, has confirmed there were discussions about putting the rape accusation in the book.

The defense has suggested that Mr. Cosby’s accusers are motivated by media attention and even money. On Thursday, the team carried the argument to the steps of the courthouse, where Mr. Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, accused Gloria Allred, the civil rights attorney who is representing three of the five accusers, of being “part of the con.” Ms. Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, represents Ms. Dickinson.

At one point, Mr. Wyatt asked Ms. Allred to explain her proposal to have Mr. Cosby set up a fund to compensate the women who have accused him of abuse.

Photo

Janice Baker-Kinney was questioned by Mr. Cosby’s lawyers about what they contended were discrepancies in her account of being drugged and sexually assaulted by Mr. Cosby.

Credit
Mark Makela/Getty Images

“I’m so glad you asked that,” she shot back, “but you need to listen, and don’t interrupt.”

“I’m not your child,” Mr. Wyatt responded, and walked off.

Ms. Dickinson is one of about a dozen women who have outstanding civil suits against the entertainer, most of which are on hold pending the outcome of this criminal trial. Ms. Dickinson, like most of the other women, is suing him for defamation because she says his representatives characterized her as a liar when she came forward.

In the criminal case, Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have tried to show to the jury that there were holes in each of the women’s accounts. Mr. Mesereau confronted one accuser, Janice Baker-Kinney, on Thursday about what he described as discrepancies between the accounts she had given her sister and later the police and news media.

Ms. Baker-Kinney told the jury on Wednesday that Mr. Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in Reno in 1982 after giving her two pills. She was 24 at the time and working as a bartender.

“Is it true that you told your sister,” Mr. Mesereau asked, “you went there and drank too much and didn’t mention the pill?”

Ms. Baker-Kinney said she could not recall what she had told her sister.

But Mary Chokron, a friend, testified she had received a call soon after the encounter and that Ms. Baker-Kinney said she had been knocked unconscious by some kind of party drug. “She blamed herself for taking the pill,” Ms. Chokron said.

Ms. Baker-Kinney, a sports broadcast stage manager who now lives near San Francisco, said she did not speak out at the time because she feared she would be blamed for having put herself in that position and would be fired.

“That was the culture then,” she said, “and was for a very long time.”

Lise-Lotte Lublin, a teacher, told of an encounter with Mr. Cosby in a Las Vegas hotel room in 1989, when she was 23. She said she was there for an acting lesson, that he gave her two drinks and asked her to sit between his legs, and began to stroke her hair. She said she remembered little else. “When I woke up, I was at home,” she said, but she assumes she was sexually assaulted.

“You have no recollection of sexual assault?” Kathleen Bliss, a defense lawyer, asked several times.

“I would not have the memory because I was drugged,” Ms. Lublin replied.

Correction: April 12, 2018

An earlier version of this article misidentified Janice Dickinson’s legal representation. Her lawyer is Lisa Bloom, not Ms. Bloom and her mother, Gloria Allred.

Continue reading the main story

Bill Cosby’s Lawyer Calls Sex Assault Accuser a ‘Con Artist’


In the first trial, last summer, only one additional accuser was allowed to add her voice. That trial, also at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, ended with a hung jury.

In an opening statement of close to an hour, Mr. Mesereau attacked the credibility of Ms. Constand, turning on its head the prosecution’s charge that Mr. Cosby was a celebrity stalking a much younger woman for sex. Instead, Mr. Mesereau said, Mr. Cosby was a foolish man who had made the mistake of telling her his troubles, including the death of his son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 in a failed robbery attempt.

Ms. Constand’s acceptance of his invitations and gifts during a period of friendship of several months were the acts of a calculating woman intent on insinuating herself into his life, the defense said.

“He was lonely and troubled and he made a terrible mistake confiding in her what was going on his life,” Mr. Mesereau said.

The defense plans to call as a witness a Temple University academic adviser who, Mr. Mesereau said, would testify that Ms. Constand told her several years ago that she could make money by falsely claiming she had been molested by a prominent person. The adviser, Marguerite Jackson, 56, was not allowed to speak at the first trial after Ms. Constand testified that she did not know her. But the defense has since brought forward two former Temple colleagues of Ms. Constand who said she and Ms. Jackson did know each other.

Photo

Ms. Constand says that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his home outside Philadelphia after giving her three pills that left her incapacitated.

Credit
Pool photo by Lucas Jackson

Ms. Constand first reported an assault to the police in 2005, a year after her encounter with Mr. Cosby. When prosecutors declined to bring charges, she brought a lawsuit against him. Prosecutors in Montgomery County filed the current charges after reopening the investigation in 2015.

On Monday, the opening day of the trial, prosecutors revealed that Mr. Cosby had paid Ms. Constand $3.38 million as part of a confidential settlement of the lawsuit in 2006. The amount had never been disclosed publicly, but Mr. Cosby agreed to reveal it during pretrial discussions.

The defense argued that the large payment is by no means an admission of wrongdoing on Mr. Cosby’s part, but rather evidence of Ms. Constand’s financial incentive in pursuing charges against him, a perspective prosecutors vehemently reject.

A lawyer who represented Ms. Constand in the civil case, Dolores M. Troiani, rejected Mr. Mesereau’s characterization of her client, calling it a “disgrace” that the legal system permits such defenses which, she said, deter women from coming forward to report sexual assault.

“This is about one thing only,” Ms. Troiani said. “He gave her pills, she was incapable of consent, he sexually assaulted her, and he admitted it.”

As at the first trial, the defense on Tuesday told jurors about how Ms. Constand continued to have contact with Mr. Cosby after the night she said he assaulted her, including multiple phone calls and an occasion when she went with her family to see him perform in Canada.

Mr. Mesereau said that the defense had evidence that Ms. Constand had unpaid bills during her time at Temple, was struggling at her job and that they would produce emails showing she was running a “pyramid scheme” at the university. He did not elaborate.

More than 50 women have leveled accusations of some kind of sexual misconduct against Mr. Cosby in recent years, but Ms. Constand’s is the only case to result in criminal charges.

In many quarters the accusations have all but undone the entertainer’s image as America’s Dad. He faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Mr. Mesereau said the experience had been “brutal” for Mr. Cosby and he was glad to finally be able to get a chance for vindication.

“This is no longer a media sound bite,” Mr. Mesereau said. “This is a court of law. Finally we welcome the opportunity for the truth to get out. Finally Mr. Cosby has his day in court.”

Mr. Mesereau referred to the #MeToo movement in his statement, asserting that prosecutors were hoping that, “Maybe in the current climate you will not see the facts.” But he said he was confident the jurors would find Mr. Cosby not guilty.

Continue reading the main story

Bill Cosby Paid His Sex Assault Accuser $3.38 Million in Settlement


The prosecution’s case has also been significantly bolstered since the first trial last summer, which ended with a hung jury. Judge Steven T. O’Neill is allowing prosecutors to present accounts from five women who say Mr. Cosby tried to intoxicate them as part of a plan to sexually abuse them, accusations similar to Ms. Constand’s that the prosecution says demonstrate a signature pattern of assault. In the first trial only one additional accuser was allowed to add her voice.

Photo

In his opening argument, Kevin R. Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney, told the jury that Mr. Cosby had paid Andrea Constand $3.38 million as part of a 2006 settlement of her lawsuit against him.

Credit
Lucas Jackson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“You will have an understanding of a common plan, scheme or design of the defendant,” Mr. Steele told the jurors Monday. “And when this happened with Andrea Constand, there was no mistake.”

One of the additional accusers who prosecutors plan to call is Janice Dickinson, the former supermodel, who said Mr. Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982.

The testimony of Ms. Constand, 44, will still be central to the retrial — as it was in the first trial. The defense, which will present its opening statement Tuesday, will almost certainly question why she maintained contact with Mr. Cosby after the encounter and ask why she took a year to come forward to police, both issues raised at the first trial.

In an opening statement of more than an hour, Mr. Steele appeared determined to undercut any credibility issues, mentioning how Ms. Constand only sued Mr. Cosby after prosecutors more than a decade ago declined to bring charges. The current charges were brought after the investigation was reopened in 2015.

The prosecution had some of Mr. Cosby’s prior statements projected onto a screen, including his acknowledgment that on the night of their encounter he had given Ms. Constand three pills — “three friends” he called them — to help her relax without telling her what the pills were, as well as a later admission to her mother that he had digitally penetrated Ms. Constand. Mr. Cosby has said the pills were Benadryl and the sex was consensual.

The start of the proceedings had been delayed for several hours as Judge O’Neill reviewed a motion by Mr. Cosby’s lawyers to dismiss a juror who, they said, had told another prospective juror last week that he thought Mr. Cosby was guilty. Judge O’Neill decided the juror could remain, though he did not disclose his reasoning.

Mr. Cosby’s entry to the courthouse was briefly delayed in the morning by the protest of a topless woman, later identified as Nicolle Rochelle, a former actress who had appeared several times on “The Cosby Show.” She jumped over a crowd barrier outside the courthouse and yelled “Women’s lives matter” before being wrestled to the ground by courthouse deputies about ten yards in front of Mr. Cosby as he walked toward the building’s front doors.

Photo

Nicolle Rochelle, a protester, was detained outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

Credit
Corey Perrine/Associated Press

Ms. Rochelle, 38, of Little Falls, N.J. had written on her torso the names of some of the women who have accused Mr. Cosby of assault. Mr. Cosby, wearing a dark suit and using a cane, was guided toward a side entrance instead.

In an interview after her arrest on disorderly conduct charges, Ms. Rochelle said she is a performing artist and activist who now lives in Paris.

“I wanted to get as close to him as possible without touching him,” she said. “It was a peaceful demonstration but I wanted him to feel uncomfortable.”

She had appeared on “The Cosby Show” in the early 1990s when she was 12 years old in a part as a friend of Mr. Cosby’s daughter on the show, Rudy. She said that nothing inappropriate had happened on the set with Mr. Cosby, whom she said she liked as a young actress.

But now she said she wanted to express the anger of the other women and had chosen to do it topless so as to use her body as “a political tool.”

“I was contesting the image of a woman’s body as constantly sexual,” she said.

About a dozen other protesters also demonstrated outside the courthouse, an indication of how Mr. Cosby’s profile has changed since he was one of America’s most beloved entertainers. His is the first high-profile sexual assault trial of the #MeToo era, and experts are watching to see what effect the eruption of accusations of harassment and assault against prominent men may have on the trial and on jurors’ attitudes.

The 12-person jury is made up of five women and seven men. One woman and one man are African-American. The panel will be sequestered for the trial, which is the only criminal case to arise from the many accusations made against Mr. Cosby by women, all of which Mr. Cosby has denied.

Continue reading the main story

Bill Cosby Returns to Court. Here’s Why His Retrial Is No Repeat.


The one that’s attracted most attention is Marguerite Jackson, 56, a Temple University academic adviser who says that Ms. Constand, who worked on the support staff for the women’s basketball team, once told her she could make money by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person.

Judge O’Neill blocked Ms. Jackson’s testimony at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But the judge allowed her testimony this time, and Mr. Cosby’s lawyers are expected to use her account to portray Ms. Constand as someone with a premeditated plan to siphon money from Mr. Cosby.

Prosecutors have already questioned Ms. Jackson’s credibility and can be expected to continue that track when she testifies.

But another area of concern for them is likely to be the defense’s assertions that Ms. Constand misled the court during the first trial when she said she did not know Ms. Jackson. The defense has already brought forward two women who worked for Temple who say Ms. Constand and Ms. Jackson did know each other.

Photo

Thomas Mesereau, Jr., left, and Kathleen Bliss, the lawyers who are representing Mr. Cosby in this trial.

Credit
Tracie Van Auken/EPA, via Shutterstock

A new defense team — and a new style

Last time out Mr. Cosby’s main lawyer was a Philadelphia courthouse veteran, Brian J. McMonagle, who had served as a prosecutor and knew the local people and the processes well. This time out, Mr. Cosby has hired more of an outsider to lead his defense: Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., a high profile criminal defense veteran who helped Michael Jackson win acquittal in his 2005 child molesting trial.

Mr. Mesereau, with his white shoulder-length hair, will be a distinctive figure as the case unfolds. His team has already demonstrated his aggressiveness with its move to have Judge O’Neill recuse himself because his wife has been an active supporter of sexual assault victims. Judge O’Neill rejected the motion.

The jury will not hear why prosecutors first declined the case

One part of the defense case during the first trial was an effort to let the jury know that in 2005, when Ms. Constand first went to the police, the district attorney decided not to bring charges. The news release by the former district attorney, Bruce L. Castor Jr., played a big role at the first trial. But his opinions about the evidence and why he decided against charges won’t be heard this time around, Judge O’Neill decided.

Jurors will hear there was a civil suit, and a settlement

After Mr. Castor declined to bring charges, Ms. Constand sued Mr. Cosby in 2005. The case was settled confidentially in 2006 with a financial payment made by Mr. Cosby to Ms. Constand.

At the first trial, references to the civil case were barred. This time, Mr. Cosby has lifted his objections, and jurors can hear more about the lawsuit, including the payment amount.

Each side is expected to try to use the settlement in their favor: the defense team arguing that it supports their view of Ms. Constand as a money seeker, the prosecution suggesting that the payment must reflect some kind of admission by Mr. Cosby that he indeed did something wrong.

One part of the civil suit was allowed in last time around: Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony in which he admitted giving quaaludes to women for consensual sex. Judge O’Neill has yet to rule whether he will allow the testimony to be admitted in the retrial.

The jury is local

Last time, the jury was drawn from Pittsburgh and bused 300 miles to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after Mr. Cosby said he worried that all the pretrial publicity had affected potential jurors in the local area. This time, however, he has made no objections, and all jurors come from Montgomery County. As before, they will be sequestered during the trial.

The 12-person jury is made up of five women and seven men. One woman and one man are African-American, the same makeup as the jury for the first trial.

Photo

Protestors outside the Montgomery County Courthouse this month.

Credit
Mark Makela/Getty Images

The #MeToo movement

Perhaps nothing is as different from one trial to the next as the atmosphere in which it is unfolding. The Cosby case will be the first high-profile sex abuse trial to test what effect, if any, the #MeToo movement has on jurors.

Some experts think it may give jurors a greater willingness to believe people who come forward with accusations of sexual assault.

At least one juror in the first trial reported some problems with Ms. Constand’s credibility and had a question about why the many women who accused Mr. Cosby did not come forward sooner.

The entertainer’s lawyers, however, say they are worried that the barrage of publicity surrounding other bad-behaving men will lead jurors to lump Mr. Cosby in with the others, making it tougher for him to receive a fair trial.

The length of the trial

This will not be a quick trial like the first, during which prosecutors and defense lawyers put forth their arguments and examined witnesses in six days. The jurors deliberated for a further 52 hours before admitting they could not reach a unanimous verdict. The retrial is likely to last as long as a month, according to Judge O’Neill.

Continue reading the main story

Bill Cosby Returns to Court. Here’s Why His Retrial Is No Repeat.


The one that’s attracted most attention is Marguerite Jackson, 56, a Temple University academic adviser who says that Ms. Constand, who worked on the support staff for the women’s basketball team, once told her she could make money by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person.

Judge O’Neill blocked Ms. Jackson’s testimony at the first trial after Ms. Constand said that she did not know her. But the judge allowed her testimony this time, and Mr. Cosby’s lawyers are expected to use her account to portray Ms. Constand as someone with a premeditated plan to siphon money from Mr. Cosby.

Prosecutors have already questioned Ms. Jackson’s credibility and can be expected to continue that track when she testifies.

But another area of concern for them is likely to be the defense’s assertions that Ms. Constand misled the court during the first trial when she said she did not know Ms. Jackson. The defense has already brought forward two women who worked for Temple who say Ms. Constand and Ms. Jackson did know each other.

Photo

Thomas Mesereau, Jr., left, and Kathleen Bliss, the lawyers who are representing Mr. Cosby in this trial.

Credit
Tracie Van Auken/EPA, via Shutterstock

A new defense team — and a new style

Last time out Mr. Cosby’s main lawyer was a Philadelphia courthouse veteran, Brian J. McMonagle, who had served as a prosecutor and knew the local people and the processes well. This time out, Mr. Cosby has hired more of an outsider to lead his defense: Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., a high profile criminal defense veteran who helped Michael Jackson win acquittal in his 2005 child molesting trial.

Mr. Mesereau, with his white shoulder-length hair, will be a distinctive figure as the case unfolds. His team has already demonstrated his aggressiveness with its move to have Judge O’Neill recuse himself because his wife has been an active supporter of sexual assault victims. Judge O’Neill rejected the motion.

The jury will not hear why prosecutors first declined the case

One part of the defense case during the first trial was an effort to let the jury know that in 2005, when Ms. Constand first went to the police, the district attorney decided not to bring charges. The news release by the former district attorney, Bruce L. Castor Jr., played a big role at the first trial. But his opinions about the evidence and why he decided against charges won’t be heard this time around, Judge O’Neill decided.

Jurors will hear there was a civil suit, and a settlement

After Mr. Castor declined to bring charges, Ms. Constand sued Mr. Cosby in 2005. The case was settled confidentially in 2006 with a financial payment made by Mr. Cosby to Ms. Constand.

At the first trial, references to the civil case were barred. This time, Mr. Cosby has lifted his objections, and jurors can hear more about the lawsuit, including the payment amount.

Each side is expected to try to use the settlement in their favor: the defense team arguing that it supports their view of Ms. Constand as a money seeker, the prosecution suggesting that the payment must reflect some kind of admission by Mr. Cosby that he indeed did something wrong.

One part of the civil suit was allowed in last time around: Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony in which he admitted giving quaaludes to women for consensual sex. Judge O’Neill has yet to rule whether he will allow the testimony to be admitted in the retrial.

The jury is local

Last time, the jury was drawn from Pittsburgh and bused 300 miles to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., after Mr. Cosby said he worried that all the pretrial publicity had affected potential jurors in the local area. This time, however, he has made no objections, and all jurors come from Montgomery County. As before, they will be sequestered during the trial.

The 12-person jury is made up of five women and seven men. One woman and one man are African-American, the same makeup as the jury for the first trial.

Photo

Protestors outside the Montgomery County Courthouse this month.

Credit
Mark Makela/Getty Images

The #MeToo movement

Perhaps nothing is as different from one trial to the next as the atmosphere in which it is unfolding. The Cosby case will be the first high-profile sex abuse trial to test what effect, if any, the #MeToo movement has on jurors.

Some experts think it may give jurors a greater willingness to believe people who come forward with accusations of sexual assault.

At least one juror in the first trial reported some problems with Ms. Constand’s credibility and had a question about why the many women who accused Mr. Cosby did not come forward sooner.

The entertainer’s lawyers, however, say they are worried that the barrage of publicity surrounding other bad-behaving men will lead jurors to lump Mr. Cosby in with the others, making it tougher for him to receive a fair trial.

The length of the trial

This will not be a quick trial like the first, during which prosecutors and defense lawyers put forth their arguments and examined witnesses in six days. The jurors deliberated for a further 52 hours before admitting they could not reach a unanimous verdict. The retrial is likely to last as long as a month, according to Judge O’Neill.

Continue reading the main story

Democrats in New York State Senate Appear Set to Reconcile


Photo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with Senator Jeff Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference, and Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the main group of Democrats on a trip to Cuba in 2015.

Credit
Desmond Boylan/Associated Press

After years of Democratic infighting that has helped keep Republicans in control of the New York State Senate, two long-warring factions of Democratic lawmakers in Albany are on the brink of reunifying, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

At a closed-door meeting at a Manhattan steakhouse on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked the two rival Democratic leaders to consider reconciling immediately, according to people in the room and people briefed on the discussion.

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the main group of Democrats, and Senator Jeff Klein, who leads the breakaway group, the Independent Democratic Conference, appeared to tentatively agree. Ms. Stewart-Cousins asked to discuss the matter with her rank-and-file members and is expected to do so as early as Wednesday morning, before giving official approval.

The reunification would end one of the oddest political arrangements in the country, and in the history of New York State. In it, the breakaway conference, which is made up of eight Democratic state senators, has helped ensure Republican control of the State Senate.

The conference was formed during Mr. Cuomo’s first week as governor and has become a scourge of liberal activists across the state and a central talking point for the actress Cynthia Nixon in her current primary challenge to Mr. Cuomo.

Continue reading the main story

Bill Cosby Jury to Hear Account That His Accuser Was Scheming


Prosecutors say Ms. Constand is just one in a line of women who Mr. Cosby assaulted after giving them some kind of intoxicant. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years with such accounts, and Judge O’Neill agreed last month to allow five of them to testify. Prosecutors say the testimony will buttress their contention that the encounter with Ms. Constand was part of a pattern of predatory behavior by Mr. Cosby.

At the first trial, only one other woman was allowed to testify alongside Ms. Constand.

Photo

Andrea Constand leaving the courthouse in Norristown, Pa., last summer after the judge declared a mistrial in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial.

Credit
Pool photo by Ed Hille

Mr. Cosby’s lawyers have said they intend to show with Ms. Jackson’s testimony that Mr. Cosby was the victim of someone who hatched a plot to siphon money from a rich entertainer.

In another ruling Tuesday, Judge O’Neill said jurors would be able to hear about the lawsuit settlement reached between Ms. Constand and Mr. Cosby in 2006 in which Mr. Cosby paid her a financial sum related to her complaint of sexual assault. The payment amount has been kept confidential for more than a decade but can now be revealed at trial.

But Judge O’Neill said that the negotiations that led to the civil settlement would not be disclosed. Prosecutors had wanted to include what they said were Mr. Cosby’s demands that he be released from criminal liability and that Ms. Constand be barred from cooperating with the police — a stance, prosecutors said, that was inconsistent with a person saying he was innocent.

Representatives for Mr. Cosby and for Kevin R. Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney, had no comment on the rulings, which came on the second day of jury selection for the trial, scheduled to start next week.

Judge O’Neill said his decision about Ms. Jackson was “subject to further rulings by this court in the context of trial, specifically, following the testimony of Andrea Constand” — suggesting the decision could be reversed depending on Ms. Constand’s testimony.

In an affidavit filed with the court, Ms. Jackson, who has worked for more than 30 years at Temple, said she traveled with the women’s college basketball team as an adviser and sometimes shared a room with Ms. Constand in the early 2000s. At the time, Ms. Constand was the team’s operations manager. Ms. Jackson said on a trip to Rhode Island during that time they watched a TV news report together about a prominent person who had drugged and sexually assaulted women.

Ms. Constand responded to the TV report, Ms. Jackson said, by saying at first that something similar had happened to her. Then she said she had not actually been assaulted but that she could make a lot of money if she told the authorities that she had been, according to the affidavit.

“I could say it happened, file charges and get money to go to school and open a business,” Ms. Constand said, according to Ms. Jackson’s account.

When she saw the news about Ms. Constand and the current criminal charges against Mr. Cosby, Ms. Jackson said in her affidavit, “I felt Ms. Constand was setting up a celebrity just as she told me she was going to do.”

Photo

Mr. Cosby’s new legal team for his retrial on sexual assault charges includes the lawyer Kathleen Bliss, center, who arrived Tuesday for jury selection at the Montgomery County Courthouse.

Credit
Corey Perrine/Associated Press

Prosecutors and defense lawyers had fought over the inclusion of Ms. Jackson’s testimony at pretrial hearings.

Becky S. James, a lawyer for Mr. Cosby, said at a pretrial hearing: “Ms. Constand reveals to Ms. Jackson her own mind-set. In addition, she has since changed her testimony, that she now knows Jackson. This goes to the bias and motive of the prosecution’s main witness.”

“The commonwealth has made a lot of arguments about the reliability of Ms. Jackson,” Ms. James added, “but she has no reason to lie.”

Although the defense has argued in court papers that Ms. Constand now acknowledges knowing Ms. Jackson, the basis for that contention has not been made public. Prosecutors have questioned why Ms. Jackson did not speak up on this matter until a decade after Ms. Constand first went to the police.

Kristen Feden, a lawyer for the prosecution, had said Ms. Jackson’s testimony should not be admitted because it does not mention Mr. Cosby or specify a time when the statement was made. She said the statement did not qualify as an exception to the rule banning hearsay because it does not establish the defendant’s state of mind.

“When you are talking about state of mind, you are not talking about broad statements,” Ms. Feden said. “She didn’t talk about Bill Cosby.”

Ms. Feden said that the judge ruled against admitting Ms. Jackson’s account in the first trial because it “did not come close” to identifying a time frame.

Lynne M. Abraham, a former Philadelphia district attorney and judge, said Judge O’Neill seemed to be trying to give each side an opportunity to present relevant evidence.

“That is extremely powerful and important,” she said of the inclusion of Ms. Jackson’s testimony. “It’s a delicate balancing act. It’s on a jeweler’s scale. You are trying to balance either side.”

Dennis McAndrews, a Pennsylvania lawyer, said the inclusion of the financial settlement in the civil case “cuts both ways.”

“On the one hand, the defense will make it appear that her motive in the entire process in the criminal and civil cases was financial,” he said. “The flip side of that is the jury will consider why would someone who is innocent pay a large amount of money if they truly did nothing wrong?”

Continue reading the main story

Potential Cosby Jurors Are Asked About #MeToo Bias


“This is very important,” Judge O’Neill said. “This will help us.”

Mr. Cosby’s second trial, scheduled to start next week, will be the first high-profile sexual assault trial of the #MeToo era. Experts are intrigued by the question of what effect, if any, it will have on jurors’ attitudes toward sexual assault — whether, for example, jurors will be more willing to believe women who come forward to bring complaints than they were in the past.

“Since Cosby’s first go-round, all courtroom participants — jurors, attorneys, judge — have been immersed in an intensive course on sexual violation,” Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern University and a former prosecutor who specialized in domestic violence cases, “including the kind of sexual assault inflicted by mentors.”

“The ways in which we evaluate the credibility of survivors has also shifted in important ways,” she said, “from a default to doubt, to a greater willingness to believe. And we have been newly schooled in the importance of consent. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out in the courtroom.”

Mr. Cosby’s interest in the question is far from academic. His first trial on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004 at his home outside Philadelphia, ended with a hung jury. At least one juror reported some problems with Ms. Constand’s credibility and had a question about why the many women who accused him did not come forward sooner. Now the entertainer’s lawyers say they are worried that the barrage of publicity surrounding bad-behaving men will lead jurors to lump Mr. Cosby in with the others.

Photo

Tom Mesereau, a lawyer for Bill Cosby, before jury selection.

Credit
Mark Makela/Getty Images North America

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Cosby, 80, is also a sexual predator, one who abused dozens of women, though Ms. Constand’s case is the only one to result in criminal charges. The prosecution will offer accounts from five other women during the trial who are expected to testify that Mr. Cosby tried to intoxicate them in some way before sexually abusing them.

The very fact that Judge O’Neill is allowing five additional accusers to testify — not one, as in the first trial — is evidence of how the #MeToo moment has influenced the case, said Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. The judge has not explained his reasoning for allowing more accusers to testify this time.

“When I saw that, I said really, the ground has really shifted,” Ms. Hannaford-Agor said. “The judge has had to pay attention.”

The defense has been arguing, instead, that the prejudicial effect on the jury to have five additional women testify is too much for Mr. Cosby to receive a fair trial, that it will distract from a focus on the facts of the Constand case. He has said the sexual encounter was consensual.

In the morning session, Judge O’Neill did some broad surveying of the jury pool and found that more than half of the potential jurors — 68 — said they had already formed an opinion about the case. They were disqualified.

Reporters were barred from the room and relegated to another courtroom where they watched on closed-circuit television, unable to see the jurors or grasp how they were answering the judge’s questions. Judge O’Neil indicated that Mr. Cosby’s lawyers had objected to allowing the media a broader view of the jury pool.

“They would object to having every member of the media sitting in the courtroom,” he said. But he seemed to condone it because it would help keep the jurors’ identities anonymous, he said, as they were in the first trial. Several news organizations complained about the exclusion, but the judge never revealed his legal basis for the decision.

The questioning of individual jurors intensified in the afternoon, and three were asked again about whether they had heard about #MeToo incidents in the entertainment industry and whether they could remain impartial. All said they could. But the defense and the prosecution settled only on one juror Monday, a white man in his 20s wearing a navy T-shirt who said he had heard about #MeToo but that he would not be affected by it.

All of the 12 jurors and six alternates will remain anonymous throughout the trial. Judge O’Neill said that the trial was likely to last a month and that the jury would be sequestered during that period. The selection process will continue Tuesday.

Last time, the jury was drawn from Pittsburgh and bused here after Mr. Cosby said he was worried that potential jurors in Montgomery County had been affected by pretrial publicity This time, however, he has made no objections to jurors from the county, where Mr. Cosby, a Philadelphia native, has long owned a home and was among the best-known graduates of Temple University, where Ms. Constand worked as support staff for the women’s basketball team.

Continue reading the main story