New trial for sexual abuse against Bill Cosby started in the suburbs of Philadelphia with a figure that was more than a decade in secret: 3.38 million dollars. That’s the amount the comedian agreed to pay Andrea Constand to settle the civil lawsuit. Prosecutor Kevin Steele cited the amount several times by presenting the different aspects of the case to the 12 members of the jury.
The figure was revealed in the context of the new trial against which he was once known as the “Father of America”. Constant is one of 60 women who accused Cosby of abuse but his case is the only one that is tried in the United States. They met when she worked for the basketball team at Temple University, alma mater of the actor. The alleged assault took place in January 2004.
The first trial was declared null in June of last year because the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The repetition occurs in the same court and before the same judge. But the impetus of the #MeToo movement and the five witnesses who will use the accusation against him pose a challenge this time for the defense team led by Tom Mesereau, who defended Michael Jackson.
In the opening arguments, Steele reiterated that Cosby abused the trust he built over time to assault her. “This is a case of treason,” the lawyer reiterated. He explained to the jury that the actor provided Constant with three pills to relax him, after ingesting them he told him to drink wine and, already unconscious on the sofa of his mansion, proceeded to penetrate it using his fingers.
“He was unable to give his consent,” he reiterated during the exhibition. Steele explained that it was not raped because he did not penetrate her with his penis, but he made it clear that Constand “felt violated.” And to show that he tells the truth in a case like this, which will be based on testimony rather than evidence, five other women who were victims of the same pattern of behavior will testify.
Cosby and Constand settled the civil suit in 2006 and until now the terms of the agreement were confidential. Judge Steven O’Neill authorized last week that the figure is presented to the jury, responding to a request made by the actor’s lawyer, Tom Mesereau. The strategy of the defense is to demonstrate in this way that it had a financial motivation to make the complaint.
The details of the civil agreement were excluded in the first trial that was held in June, which was declared void after the jury failed to reach a verdict after more than five days of deliberations. Bill Cosby faces three charges for indecent assault, for which he can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for each. Judge Steven O’Neill, who also presided over the trial, said the case will be long and complex.