NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers have changed the way they talk about his chief accuser and her relationship with him.
At Cosby’s first sexual-assault trial, the defense argued that Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball administrator, and the 80-year-old married comedian were lovers having an affair. A mistrial was declared when jurors couldn’t reach a verdict after five days of deliberations.
At the retrial, Cosby’s new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, has called Constand a “con artist” who baited Cosby by feigning romantic interest in him and wound up with a .4 million civil settlement after she leveled a false claim of sexual molestation.
Mesereau’s cross-examination of Constand, which ended Monday, reflected this change in strategy.
Like last time, though, the defense team hit a brick wall when it asked Constand about a key figure in the case, Marguerite Jackson, who says Constand spoke about fabricating sexual-assault allegations against a celebrity to file suit. After Constand denied knowing Jackson at the first trial, a judge barred her from testifying for the defense. The judge has tentatively ruled that Jackson can take the stand at the retrial, but that could change because Constand, for a second time, has denied knowing her.
Here’s a glimpse at each defense team’s cross-examination of Constand.
ON CONSTAND’S DINNER WITH COSBY
First trial: Cosby lawyer Angela Agrusa suggested Constand once enjoyed a romantic dinner at Cosby’s home.
“And the room was dark and there was a nice mood in the room, correct?” Agrusa asked.
“I don’t know what that means,” Constand replied.
“The lights were dimmed, and the fire was going, right?” the lawyer continued.
“I don’t really remember how dim the lights were, but I did have to eat my dinner,” Constand said.
Second trial: Mesereau didn’t ask about the dinner.
ON THE ‘PONZI SCHEME’
First trial: The defense didn’t ask Constand about emails she had sent that promised big returns for a risk-free investment — what the defense at the second trial has called a “Ponzi scheme.”
Second trial: Mesereau asked Constand about the emails, seeking to bolster his claim that she’s a con artist. During cross-examination, Constand struggled to remember why she’d sent them but said she was only trying to help out a friend.
ON MARGUERITE JACKSON
First trial: Agrusa asked Constand, “When you traveled to the away games while you were director of basketball operations, did you know or work with a woman named Margo Jackson?”
Constand replied, “Her name sounds familiar, but I don’t really remember her. … I don’t know her.”
Second trial: Constand testified she doesn’t “recall ever having a conversation with” Jackson.