Bill Cosby accuser denies framing TV star
A Canadian basketball star who is the chief accuser in Bill Cosby’s retrial has denied she is framing the comedian for sexual assault.
Andrea Constand claims she was drugged and molested by the TV star at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He says the encounter was consensual.
Ms Constand told the court that she does not know Marguerite Jackson – a woman who the defence plan to call as a witness as part of their attempt to discredit her.
Ms Jackson, who worked at Temple University at around the same time as Ms Constand, will testify that ahead of Ms Constand’s allegations against Cosby in 2005, the accuser had mused to her about setting up a “high-profile person” and filing a suit.
While Ms Jackson says she worked closely with Ms Constand and considered her a friend, Ms Constand says she does not “recall ever having a conversation with” her.
Ms Jackson’s testimony was blocked by a judge at last year’s initial trial after Ms Constand denied knowing her. However, she has since modified her statement, saying she “recalls a Margo.”
The first criminal trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict.
Ms Jackson’s testimony will play a key part in the defence team’s plan to present Ms Constand as a “con artist” who framed Cosby, 80, for material gain.
Ms Constand denies attempting to set up the star.
Bill Cosby paid nearly $3.4m (£2.4m) in a settlement after the civil case closed in 2006.
Earlier this week, the defence team told the jury that Ms Constand had feigned a romantic interest in Cosby, and called him twice on Valentine’s Day, around a month after she alleges he assaulted her.
Five other women who also allege that Cosby drugged and assaulted them were called to the stand by the prosecution.
Ms Constand is one of about 50 women to have accused Cosby of assault dating back as far as 1965; however, her case is the only one recent enough to satisfy statute of limitations.
In the first week of Cosby’s retrial, a topless protester launched herself at him, with the names of the accusers painted across her body.
The woman, Nicolle Rochelle, turned out to be a former child actor on The Cosby Show.
Cosby, 80, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by 10 years in prison.
His lawyer, Tom Mesereau, won an acquittal in Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation case.
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