Andrea Constand says she settled with Bill Cosby because ‘we just wanted it over’
Andrea Constand, the key witness in Bill Cosby’s retrial on indecent assault charges, testified during cross-examination why she agreed to a $3.38 million civil settlement in which Cosby did not admit to wrongdoing.
“I can’t speak for him, but I was glad it was over,” Constand said in court Monday.
“(I signed it) because it was a very painstaking process for me and my family, it tore my family apart and we just wanted it over,” she added.
The comments came on the second day of testimony for Constand, the former Temple University employee who testified that Cosby acted as a mentor to her, gained her trust, and then drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004.
Cosby, 80, has said their sex was consensual, and has pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated indecent assault. His first trial on the charges ended last year in a mistrial after a Pennsylvania jury couldn’t come to a unanimous decision.
In this case, Cosby’s defense attorney Tom Mesereau has argued that Constand was a “con artist” who was obsessed with Cosby’s money and fame. His cross-examination has attempted to highlight her attempts to make money, including the civil lawsuit, as well as inconsistencies in her story to police.
“Do you agree that on many subjects you have been inconsistent with what you have told police?” Mesereau asked her.
“I believe I have been consistent, but mistaken in some areas,” Constand responded.
Several other women told jurors last week they believe Cosby drugged and molested them. Their stories aimed to bolster prosecutors’ argument that Cosby’s attack on Constand wasn’t a singular error but part of a pattern of misbehavior.
Following Constand’s testimony Monday, her mother, Gianna Constand, took the witness stand.
Gianna Constand said she called Cosby on the phone and recorded their conversation after her daughter told her of the alleged assault.
“I wanted to know what medication he had given Andrea, and what he had done to her,” Gianna Constand testified. “He proceeded to tell me what he did to her sexually.”
Gianna Constand testified that Cosby said during the phone call that he was a “sick man.”
The mother began crying on the stand when asked how she knew what Cosby allegedly did to her daughter. “Because he told me,” she responded, through tears.
Gianna Constand had some testy exchanges with Cosby attorney Kathleen Bliss during cross-examination. She accused Bliss of bullying her and asking off-topic questions, saying at one point, “Don’t talk to me like that.”
When asked about the $3 million settlement between her daughter and Cosby, Gianna Constand said she did not know how much money was involved until she read about it in a newspaper.
“This isn’t about money, Ms. Bliss,” the mother said.
Andrea Constand testified Friday that she drank wine and took three blue pills at Cosby’s urging in January 2004, then lost consciousness and, sometime later, was “jolted awake” to find the entertainer sexually assaulting her.
“Were you able to verbalize and tell him to stop?” prosecutor Kristen Feden asked Constand.
“No,” she replied. “I wanted it to stop. I couldn’t say anything. I was trying to get my hands to move, my legs to move and the message just wasn’t getting there. I was weak, I was limp and I couldn’t fight him off.”
She told the court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that the alleged incident left her “humiliated,” in shock and “really confused.”
Constand said prior to the alleged assault, she had considered Cosby a mentor from whom she sought career advice.
Cosby’s defense attorneys argued last week that Constand was a con artist who was after Cosby’s money.
Mesereau, in his cross-examination of Constand, asked her about inconsistencies in her statements to police about the alleged assault.
For example, she told police that on the night of the assault in January 2004 she called Cosby to open the gate. But Mesereau said phone records showed she did not make any phone calls to Cosby’s Philadelphia phone number that month.
Mesereau also pointed out that Constand made phone calls to Cosby after the alleged assault, including on Valentine’s Day. Constand said the call came as part of her professional duties with the Temple University women’s basketball team.
“I called many people on Valentine’s Day, sir,” she said.
The lawyer also questioned Constand about her job at Temple and whether she had complained about the pay and tried to make additional money through other sources.
Other women describe ‘prior bad acts’
Constand is Cosby’s chief accuser in a case that lacks virtually any forensic evidence. Prosecutors in his retrial were allowed to seek testimony from as many as five other women who claim Cosby also drugged and assaulted them.
Among the “prior bad acts” witnesses was TV star and supermodel Janice Dickinson, who testified Thursday that she confronted Cosby and wanted to strike him after she said he drugged her and raped her in 1982 at a hotel in Lake Tahoe.
Heidi Thomas, Chelan Lasha, Janice Baker-Kinney and Lise-Lotte Lublin each testified last week that Cosby incapacitated them with drugs or wine and then assaulted them in separate incidents decades ago.
Cosby’s defense attorneys have worked to point out inconsistencies in their stories.