x

Politics

Bill Cosby Paid Greek-American Accuser Nearly $3.4M

April 11, 2018

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby paid nearly $3.4 million to the woman he is charged with sexually assaulting, a prosecutor revealed to jurors Monday, answering one of the biggest questions surrounding the case as the comedian’s retrial got underway.

District Attorney Kevin Steele highlighted the 2006 civil settlement during his opening statement, in an apparent attempt to suggest Cosby wouldn’t have paid out so much money if the accusations against him were false. Cosby’s lawyers have signaled they intend to use the settlement to argue that Greek-American Andrea Constand falsely accused the former TV star in hopes of landing a big payoff.

The amount had been confidential — and was kept out of the first trial — but a judge ruled that both sides could discuss it at this one.

“This case is about trust,” Steele told the jury. “This case is about betrayal and that betrayal leading to the sexual assault of a woman named Andrea Constand.”

Cosby, 80, is charged with drugging and molesting Constand, a former employee of Temple University’s basketball program, at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Constand says he gave her pills that made her woozy, then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay incapacitated, unable to tell him to stop.

“She’s unconscious. She’s out of it,” Steele said. “She will describe how her body felt during this circumstance. She’s jolted during this. She feels herself being violated. … And she’ll tell you she remembers waking up on this sofa with her clothes disheveled at 4 o’clock in the morning. This is hours after this starts.”

A lawyer not associated with the trial said Monday the settlement amount could figure prominently in the prosecution’s case.

“The question that I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot about is, why would an innocent man pay $3.38 million for something he didn’t do?” said Dennis McAndrews, who prosecuted chemical heir John E. duPont for murder in 1997.

The defense will deliver its opening statement on Tuesday in a trial expected to last a month.

Cosby’s first trial last spring ended with the jury hopelessly deadlocked. The comedian faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Ahead of opening statements, a topless protester who appeared on several episodes of “The Cosby Show” as a child jumped a barricade and got within a few feet of Cosby as the comedian entered the courthouse.

The woman, whose body was scrawled with the names of more than 50 Cosby accusers as well as the words “Women’s Lives Matter,” ran in front of Cosby and toward a bank of TV cameras but was intercepted by sheriff’s deputies and led away in handcuffs. Cosby seemed startled by the commotion as a half-dozen protesters chanted at him.

The protester, Nicolle Rochelle , 39, of Little Falls, New Jersey, was charged with disorderly conduct and released.

“The main goal was to make Cosby uncomfortable because that is exactly what he has been doing for decades to women,” she said afterward.

Rochelle, an actress, said she didn’t have any bad experiences with Cosby when she was on the show, nor did she intend to physically hurt him. She is a member of the European feminist group Femen , which is known for staging topless protests around the world.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt praised deputies for their quick action but urged court officials to increase security. Officials added a second row of barricades, and Cosby left court without incident Monday afternoon.

“It’s a different world. Things have changed,” Wyatt told The Associated Press, referring to recent mass shootings and other cases. “You never know who’s going to want to make a name for themselves.”

Opening statements were delayed for several hours while the judge sorted through allegations raised late Friday that a juror told a woman during jury selection that he thought Cosby was guilty. Cosby’s lawyers wanted the juror removed from the case.

After questioning all 12 jurors and six alternates behind closed doors, Judge Steven O’Neill ruled the juror could stay, saying all the panelists told him they stuck to their pledge to remain fair and impartial.

Prosecutors have lined up a parade of five additional accusers to make the case that the man revered as “America’s Dad” lived a double life as one of Hollywood’s biggest predators. Only one additional accuser took the stand at the first trial.

Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau, who won an acquittal in Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation case, has said the jury will instead learn “just how greedy” Constand was.

The retrial is taking place in a potentially more hostile environment for Cosby. The #MeToo movement caught fire four months after the first trial, raising awareness of sexual misconduct as it toppled Harvey Weinstein, Sen. Al Franken, Matt Lauer and other powerful men.

Constand first approached authorities with her accusations against Cosby in 2005. The district attorney at that time ended his investigation after four weeks, announcing the comedian wouldn’t be charged because the evidence showed both parties “could be held in less than a flattering light.”

The current DA’s immediate predecessor, Risa Vetri Ferman, took another look at the case in 2015 after the AP fought to unseal parts of Cosby’s deposition testimony — including lurid passages about him giving drugs to women he wanted to have sex with. Cosby was charged shortly before the statute of limitations was set to expire.

Referring to the unsealed deposition, Steele told jurors on Monday: “That, ladies and gentlemen, led to our office reopening the investigation.”

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done.

___
By MICHAEL R. SISAK , Associated Press

Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this story.

RELATED

MONTREAL- In his interview on the CTV television network, following his meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, where the strengthening of bilateral relations was emphasized and the agreement for the delivery of seven state-of-the-art firefighting aircraft was signed, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis focused on the significant improvement in the economic climate and the increasing attraction of investments to Greece Just before the European elections in June, the Prime Minister emphasized, “For the first time, we will give the opportunity to our diaspora, those who have the right to vote in Greece, to utilize the postal vote to participate in the European elections.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

A Palestinian Baby in Gaza is Born an Orphan in an Urgent Cesarean Section after an Israeli Strike

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Sabreen Jouda came into the world seconds after her mother left it.

ATHENS, Greece  — Skies over southern Greece turned an orange hue on Tuesday as dust clouds blown across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa engulfed the Acropolis and other Athens landmarks.

VENTURA, CA – Greek-American George Christie was featured on Fox News Digital (FND) for his time in the Hells Angels, recounting the moment he decided to quit the motorcycle club he had formerly led.

NICOSIA - The suspending of asylum applications from Syrian refugees on Cyprus has now been followed by President Nikos Christodoulides saying the island country that’s a member of the European Union can’t take any more in.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.