Testimony Begins in Bill Cosby Retrial

Bill Cosby, 80 and legally blind, is being retried for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand. The defense, led by Tom Mesereau, presented its opening argument today, calling Constand a con artist who was out for money.

“Andrea Constand was 30 years old” when she met Cosby, defense attorney Tom Mesereau said in a 50-minute opening argument. “Mr. Cosby was in his 60s. She said she was not attracted to him. She said, ‘He’s older than my father.’ But she was madly in love with his fame and money.”

...“She knew exactly what she was doing and, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, she’s now a multimillionaire because she pulled it off,” he said. “She’s a con artist. Well prove it.”

The defense team has 7 members who are exasperating the Judge with all their motions. [More...]

[Judge]O’Neill seemed to grow weary of the flurry of motions from Cosby’s seven-member defense team and the length of time the defense spent arguing them.

“The court is not happy with the way the arguments are unfolding,” he said Tuesday morning. “I’d like to keep the arguments on these issue to at least 3 minutes.

More from Mesereau during his opening:

Constand stiffed roommates on utility bills, racked up big credit card bills and operated a Ponzi scheme while running women's basketball operations at Temple University, where Cosby was an alumnus and trustee, Mesereau said.

He said Constand went to Cosby's home at least a half-dozen times and sneaked into bed with him at a Connecticut casino.

"You're going to be wondering: What did she want from Bill Cosby?" Mesereau said. "You already know the answer: money, money and lots more money."

He said Constand outlined her scheme to a Temple University colleague, Marguerite Jackson. The defense plans to call Jackson as a witness, and Mesereau said she will testify that Constand - inspired by a story they saw on the news - mused about setting up a celebrity so she could sue and get money.

The judge is allowing five other accusers to testify. Meseareau told the jury to ignore them as irrelevant (to the charges.)

Mesereau urged jurors to ignore the other accusers, calling them irrelevant to this case. He also urged them to set aside any sympathy they might have for the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct....

Costand received a $3.4 million settlement from Cosby years ago. The judge rejected the defense request to prevent other accusers from testifying:

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.

...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 jury includes seven men and five women. Two jurors (a male and female) are African-American.

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  • Display: Sort:
    It's going to be interesting to see if (none / 0) (#1)
    by McBain on Tue Apr 10, 2018 at 03:47:20 PM EST
    Marguerite Jackson testifies and what she will say.  On CNN TV (Smerconish) one expert said she might not testify because she has already said contradictory things about this case.

    It will also be interesting to hear what exactly Janice Dickinson has to say.... or more specifically, how she says it. I'm not sure a reality TV actress will make a great witness for the prosecution.  

    This "opening statement" wouldn't (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 10, 2018 at 04:09:03 PM EST
    fly in CA.

    You should explain that, Oc (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Tue Apr 10, 2018 at 04:32:21 PM EST
    for the non-lawyer majority of TL readers.

    Counsel is testifying? (none / 0) (#4)
    by vicndabx on Tue Apr 10, 2018 at 04:47:26 PM EST
    Impugning the character of witnesses that haven't testified?

    Counsel is arguing his case. That's supposed to be (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:41:38 PM EST
    What Does Arguing a Case Mean? (none / 0) (#8)
    by RickyJim on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:45:54 PM EST
    Anytime you describe the evidence you are going to present and what you intend to demonstrate, you are arguing the case.

    Opening statements are like (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 13, 2018 at 02:09:41 PM EST
    a preview of coming attractions in the movies. It's not argument, it's a description of what you believe your evidence will show. Closing arguments are the place to argue what the evidence means.

    Not as ambiguous as it sounds (none / 0) (#10)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:51:07 PM EST
    Document X says.....Witness X will testify to.....

    But something like "this situation is like....Watergate, or is worse than Watergate".....Or, "we have learned over time that evil prevails when good men do nothing."

    But you can always push the envelope.  The question is whether you want to, or if doing so is a good idea.


    Theoretically, the purpose of an (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:40:21 PM EST
    Opening statement is to provide the jurors a "roadmap,". X witness will testify. Etc. non argumentative.

    Or, just throw (none / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:46:33 PM EST
    an "evidence will show" in front of whatever statement, such as, "the evidence will show the other side are liars and evil people."  Not sure how effective that is, but a judge may let it go.

    State court judges in California seem more inclined, interestingly enough, to sustain objections to closing arguments that refer to evidence that was not part of the record, etc.  


    Looks like quite a trial (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 08:23:09 PM EST
    The judge is letting both sides rip.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#11)
    by linea on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 09:52:49 PM EST
    Is the trial broadcast on the internet? I don't have cable TV.

    No. The Pennsylvania state courts (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 11, 2018 at 10:00:09 PM EST
    do not allow broadcasting of trials. You can only follow this trial with traditional news coverage, as far as I know. I recommend Reuters. I know their reporter, who is excellent. Sometimes, at most, the judge will allow live-blogging from PA courtrooms, but I have not seen that in the Cosby case.

    Thank you Peter! (none / 0) (#13)
    by linea on Thu Apr 12, 2018 at 12:37:33 AM EST
    McBain posted about this a few days ago and I did some research. I know that there has been for several years (to me credible sounding) allegations against Bill Cosby but I just discovered that this is the second iteration of trial. In the first trial jurors were `hopelessly deadlocked' and a mistrial was declared. My feeling is that two re-do's is enough. If the jury doesn't return a guilty verdict this time, it should end. My opinion.

    To follow the Cosby trial closely (none / 0) (#14)
    by Peter G on Thu Apr 12, 2018 at 08:49:39 AM EST
    my reporter friend says, (a) the judge did not allow live-blogging or live-tweeting from inside the courtroom; (b) he (Reuters) is updating his story several times per day; (c) the NY Post is probably providing the most detailed coverage, although not necessarily the most "professional"; and (d) the reporters from WHYY (our local NPR station) are sending updates via Twitter each time the judge calls a break.

    Janice Dickinson takes the stand (none / 0) (#15)
    by McBain on Thu Apr 12, 2018 at 12:13:51 PM EST
    She told jurors Thursday she was "rendered motionless" by the pill in 1982 as Cosby got on top of her in his Lake Tahoe, California, hotel room. She said she was woozy and unable to stop Cosby, KYW Newsradio reports.


    During cross examination, a defense attorney seized on inconsistencies in Dickinson's testimony and what she wrote in the book. Dickinson said she went along with what was written in the book because she needed the money...

    "So you lied to get a paycheck?" said the attorney, Tom Mesereau, during the tense questioning, KYW reports.

    "I'm not a liar, sir, don't call me a liar," Dickinson responded.

    I remember her from (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 13, 2018 at 02:12:27 PM EST
    the show "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" that one of Blagojevich's was on when they needed money (after Rod had done Celebrity Apprentice, I think this must have been the show Patty did.) I couldn't stand Janice. Patty was good.

    Today she admitted she (none / 0) (#18)
    by McBain on Fri Apr 13, 2018 at 03:06:08 PM EST
    made up a story about Cosby to get money.

    Mesereau challenged Dickinson's testimony, pointing out her description of the assault differed wildly from the Lake Tahoe encounter with Cosby she described in her memoir.

    Dickinson acknowledged that she concocted stories in the book in order to get a much-needed paycheck.

    "It's all a fabrication there because I wanted the paycheck for my kids," Dickinson testified, adding that her ghostwriter took "poetic license" with her life story.

    Hard to tell exactly what's going on in this case but that admission makes it difficult to take Dickinson seriously.  If the defense can put their promised witness, Marguerite Jackson, on the stand to say Constand was scheming to frame a celebrity it might be difficult for the jury to convict.  


    Here's another article that goes into (none / 0) (#19)
    by McBain on Fri Apr 13, 2018 at 03:17:46 PM EST
    a little more detail about Dickinson's explanation for the "fabrication".
    Dickinson said she wanted the book's sections about her rape to be complete and honest and gave that information to Fenjves but its use was overruled by publisher Judith Regan.

    And FWIW, I believe her testimony was yesterday, 4/12, not today as I stated above.  It would be nice if this case was televised but I understand the decision not to.