Accused serial rapist Bill Cosby is back in court in Philadelphia following last year’s mistrial in which the jury deliberated for 52 hours before reporting to the judge that they were deadlocked about his guilt on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Today, to hear the lead attorney Tom Mesereau’s opening statements about Cosby accuser Andrea Constand, it’s as if a national reckoning around sexual harassment and abuse never happened.
"You're going to be saying to yourself, 'What does she want from Bill Cosby?' and you already know. Money, money, and lots more money," Mesereau said, according to CNN. "She was madly in love with his fame and money."
"She has a history of financial problems until she hits the jackpot with Bill Cosby," Mesereau added, referring to a previously undisclosed $3.8 million civil settlement Constand received from Cosby that was bound by a confidentiality agreement. Cosby's attorney has accused her of breaking the agreement through two vague tweets during the previous trial. But despite Cosby’s attempts to silence her, she took the stand last summer. Constand, a former Temple University basketball staffer, accused the comedian of drugging and raping her in 2004,
Mesereau’s new haranguing of the victim conveniently excluded the fact that Constand, now 44, came out publicly in 2015 as a lesbian to counter Cosby’s assertion that he knew how to read the desires of women and therefore could not have assaulted them (despite the additional allegations that he drugged them first). In his deposition from 2005 that was made public in 2015, Cosby admitted that he had no idea Constand was gay until police informed him.
Of the more than 60 women who accused the once-beloved comic of drugging, raping, and abusing them, Constand had the only case for which the statute of limitations had not run out, which left her battling in a Pennsylvania courtroom not only for herself but on behalf of all of his accusers. The case against Cosby hinged on Constand’s standing strong against him in her testimony as lawyers attempted to use certain facts against her, such as that she had once been friends with him through associations at Temple and that he had a habit of coming on to women, including her..
Considering that bringing Cosby, now 80, to justice requires the jury to believe Constand, Mesereau kicked off the new trial with an attack not only on her but on all survivors who speak out, repeatedly referring to her as a “con artist,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
During the first trial, only Constand and one other woman who alleged that Cosby assaulted her took the stand. This time, up to five women out of the dozens who’ve accused him of assaults that are, in some cases, decades old, are expected to testify, according to the Times.
Beyond his mantra that Constand — who laid out the details of Cosby’s alleged abuse on the stand last summer — was in it for the money, Mesereau flew in the face of the brave sexual assault survivors who’ve added their voices to #MeToo and implied that the “current climate in America” would make it impossible for his client to receive a fair trial.
"The only principle was money," Mesereau chanted, implying that Constand had no moral reason for coming forward about the assault.
"Money, money, money," he continued.
Despite the wall of accusations against his client, Mesereau also teased the jury with testimony they’ll hear from Constand’s occasional roommate during her time on the road with the Temple basketball team that will paint her as a scheming madwoman with the ability and desire to manipulate and harm powerful men.
Mesereau, who represented Michael Jackson on child molestation charges, spoke of witness Marguerite Jackson’s expected testimony that claims Constand conspired to take down a powerful man for his money well before Cosby had allegedly drugged and raped her.
According to what the attorney told the jury, when Jackson asked Constand if she’d actually been assaulted or if it was just her plan to say that she was, Constand allegedly told her, “No, but I can say I was and set up a celebrity and get a lot of money for my education and my business."
The judge in the case, Steven O’Neill, cautioned the jury not to take Mesereau's opening statements as evidence.