Bill Cosby's main accuser denies intentionally framing him, knowing key witness
The principal accuser in Bill Cosby’s retrial on Monday denied in court that she intentionally framed the comedian arguing that she doesn’t know a key witness who is expected to testify that she spoke candidly about bringing false accusations against a high-profile celebrity.
Marguerite Jackson will take the stand to allege that Andrea Constand, who is accusing Cosby of sexual-assault, made the claims to her shortly before her claims that the now 80-year-old comic drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Constand on Monday told jurors that she doesn’t “recall ever having a conversation with” Jackson. The two women worked at Temple University around the time of Constand’s allegations.
The defense plans to call Jackson as a witness and says she will testify that before Constand lodged her allegations against Cosby in 2005, Constand had mused to her about setting up a "high-profile person" and filing suit. Jackson has said that she and Constand worked closely together, had been friends and had shared hotel rooms several times.
A judge previously blocked Jackson from testifying at last year's trial, which ended in a hung jury, after Constand took the stand and denied knowing her. At the time, Judge Steven O'Neill ruled Jackson's testimony would be hearsay. Since then, prosecutors have told Cosby's lawyers that Constand had modified her statement to acknowledge she "recalls a Margo."
The judge has ruled that Jackson can take the stand at the retrial but indicated he could revisit the issue after Constand was finished testifying.
Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau, who has called Constand a "con artist" who framed Cosby and then collected a $3.4 million settlement, asked her about Jackson during cross-examination on Monday. She again denied knowing her.
The defense lawyer then asked, "Did you ever fabricate a scheme to falsely accuse him for money?"
"No, sir," Constand replied.
The defense then ended its questioning.
Constand, 45, testified last week that Cosby knocked her out with pills and then sexually assaulted her. Cosby says Constand consented to a sexual encounter.
Constand's mother, Gianna Constand, took the witness stand and testified about a phone conversation she had with Cosby one year after the alleged assault in which she claims he described in graphic detail what he did to her daughter and apologized for his behavior.
According to Gianna, she called Cosby concerned that her daughter hadn't been acting the same since moving back to Canada in March 2004. She claimed she demanded to know what Cosby had given Andrea, prompting him to confess that it was a perscription drug that he failed to name, and not the allergy medicine Benadryl ad he claimed.
Cosby then allegedly explained that he touched Andrea's breasts and vagina as well as guiding her hand to his genitals.
"He said to me, 'Don't worry, Mom, there was no penile penetration,'" Gianna testified.
If convicted, Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of three charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Jackson's availability as a witness for Cosby this time around could help the defense's plan to attack Constand's credibility and get jurors to believe she set Cosby up.
On Monday, the defense also tried to cast Constand as an unrequited lover who acted inappropriately by showing interest in the long-married Cosby. She has testified that she saw the former TV star as a mentor and had no romantic interest in him.
The defense said she spent late nights at the comedian's home, drove four hours to see him at a casino and called him twice on Valentine's Day, about a month after the alleged assault.
Constand said her phone calls to Cosby were about basketball and had nothing to do with romance.
Phone records show Constand, the former director of women's basketball operations at Temple University, made brief calls to Cosby around the time of a Temple home game on Feb. 14, 2004, the month after the alleged assault.
Constand testified that she felt a duty to answer Cosby's inquiries because he was a powerful alumnus and trustee.
Picking up where he left off Friday, Mesereau questioned Constand about inconsistencies in her police statements and prior testimony.
Casting further doubt on the allegations, 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. But Constand's phone records show she did not make any calls to Cosby's mansion that month.
Constand explained that she may have been mistaken, that there were times Cosby told her in advance that the gate would be open and that she often reached him at another number.
Prosecutors have called to the stand five other women who said Cosby drugged and assaulted them, too. The defense has called the other accusers irrelevant to the case.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.