Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau has signaled he intends 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.
Because Constand, who has accused the 80-year-old comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting her in his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, will once again be a key witness in the retrial (she testified last year in the first trial which ended in a hung jury), she naturally became the sharp focus of opening arguments.
Standing at a lecturn and facing the 12 jurors and six alternates, Mesereau portrayed Constand as a woman with money troubles who once remarked to a colleague that she could frame a famous person in order to get a big financial settlement.
Cosby's defense attorneys weren't allowed to seek Jackson's testimony at his first trial. Constand met Cosby at Temple University where she was director of operations for the women's basketball team and he was a trustee.
He was in his mid-60s.
Last summer, two women interrupted Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band's concert in Germany and reportedly yelled, "Stop the culture of silence", highlighting allegations that Allen abused his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was a child.
She said the pills left her almost unconscious, and that Cosby took advantage of her incapacitation to grope her breasts, penetrate her with his fingers and masturbate himself with her hand.
"Ultimately, the verdict in this case will come down to the facts presented and the strength in which Constand delivers her message", said Slotnick. While we can't predict exactly how those movements might influence the jury, the atmosphere around the Cosby trial is certainly different now, as evidenced by a topless protestor outside the courtroom yesterday with "Women's Lives Matter" written on her body.
That picture of Constand is critical to the defense strategy laid out by Mesereau, who replaced Brian McMonagle, a prominent Philadelphia defense attorney who withdrew from the case after the mistrial without explaining why. But they failed to make clear why jurors should care that the comedian paid a $3.4 million settlement to accuser Andrea Constand. In the photo she is wearing a version of Cosby's iconic "Hello Friend" sweatshirt, with the word "Rapist" scrawled over it in marker.
"This is no longer a media sound bite", Mr. Mesereau said.
Opening statements were delayed for several hours while the judge sorted through allegations raised late Friday (Apr. 6) that a juror told a woman during jury selection that he thought Cosby was guilty. Steven T. O'Neil, the veteran judge overseeing the case, reversed a previous decision and allowed testimony from a Temple University counselor who had worked with sex assault victims.
Speaking to People after her arrest, Nicolle Rochelle (above) said she felt Cosby's trial had diverged from being about alleged rape and assault to "being publicized with this narrative of race". Only one additional complainant testified at the first trial. She dabbled with modeling and aspired to enter the entertainment industry, Mesereeau said.
But those efforts went nowhere, Mesereau said, and Constand left Temple, returning to Canada broke and unemployed.
"But if a victim of sexual assault gets up again and moves on with their life, we say, 'Then it didn't happen'".
He was surrounded by five sheriff's deputies as he walked inside Tuesday. "If you're a young star everybody wants a piece of the action", Mesereau added.
Cosby, she said, was initially "very kind and very personable", but seemed unimpressed with her acting, pressing her to sip a glass of wine and handing her a script about an intoxicated woman.
Steele also said one of the trial's "good outcomes" was that Constand "got to face the defendant in court". "April 2018 is not the best time to try a case such as Cosby's".