Andrea Constand, mother testify at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial

Gianna Constand and Cosby’s defense attorney Kathleen Bliss went head to head as Bliss tried to attack her daughter’s credibility.

Bill Cosby (right) enters the Montgomery County Courthouse with his spokesperson Andrew Wyatt on Friday. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple employee Andrea Constand. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Former Temple employee Andrea Constand left the witness stand, and her mother took over as the next witness on Monday at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial.

The defense attempted to poke holes in Constand’s allegations by questioning her about the nearly 70 phone calls she made to Cosby after the alleged assault, her involvement in a “pyramid scheme” at Temple and her sexual assault and conflict-of-interest training as a university employee, among other things.

Constand, the former director of operations for women’s basketball, alleged she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby, a former member of the Board of Trustees, at his Montgomery County home in 2004.

Constand took the stand Friday morning when Cosby’s lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau set the foundation for his team’s attack on Constand’s credibility — the strategy the defense has employed since before the trial started.

Mesereau accused Constand of violating her non-disclosure agreement to the court for discussing her allegations with law enforcement.

Constand filed a civil suit against Cosby in 2005 that resulted in a payout of nearly $3.4 million. Cosby was represented by Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor during the suit.

“You never talked to anyone about this case after he paid you all of those millions of dollars?” Mesereau asked Constand. Constand said she hadn’t, and Mesereau shot back, “Then what are we doing here?”

The non-disclosure agreement allowed Constand to discuss her accusations when involved in a federal or state investigation, the prosecution said.

Mesereau also brought up the defense’s key witness Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser in the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Jackson alleges that she while working as an academic coordinator for the women’s basketball team, Constand told her she could monetarily profit from accusing a celebrity of sexual assault.

Constand testified she remembers hearing Jackson’s name but does not remember having a conversation with her.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steve T. O’Neill has not yet ruled whether he would allow Jackson to testify. His ruling will depend on whether Constand testified that she knew Jackson.

But sparks flew between her mother, Gianna Constand, and Cosby’s defense attorney, Kathleen Bliss, Monday afternoon.

Bliss questioned Gianna Constand about her relationship with her daughter. Gianna Constand testified that she is very close with her daughter and spoke to Andrea Constand frequently during her 18 months employed by Temple.

Bliss then attempted to show that Gianna Constand did not know everything going on in her daughter’s life, and therefore wouldn’t know if she was “having an affair” with Cosby.

Bliss listed several jobs and career opportunities that Gianna Constand was unaware of at NBC and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, that Andrea Constand interviewed for because of her connection to Cosby. She also alleged that Andrea Constand was close to losing her job at Temple due to poor performance and that the university was pursuing collections for money owed by her, which Gianna Constand said she didn’t know about either.

At one point, Gianna Constand said “Don’t talk to me like that” to Bliss during questions about how much she knew about her daughter. In another instance, Gianna Constand asked Bliss if she was trying to “trick” her.

The court also heard a 2005 audio recording between Gianna Constand and Cosby, in which Cosby offers to pay for Andrea Constand’s schooling. In this call, Gianna Constand tried to ask when Cosby would send her the name of the drug he gave to her daughter when she was allegedly assaulted.

“Just because I’m concerned, I don’t know how it affected her and I wanna know,” Gianna Constand told Cosby in the 2005 call.

“I don’t think so, duh I wouldn’t even worry about it if I were you,” Cosby replied. “I’m serious about this.”

The District Attorney’s office continued with its strategy to draw parallels between the allegations of Cosby’s other accusers, who testified last week, and Constand’s.

All five women who were allowed to testify told the court that Cosby tried to mentor them in some way — whether it was in acting or modeling — and when the women met with Cosby, he gave them alcohol, small blue pills or both.

The women said their memory of the alleged assaults are hazy, but recall Cosby assaulting them in some way after taking the pills or accepting drinks.

Andrea Constand described her relationship with Cosby as a mentorship because Cosby wanted to help her break into the broadcasting industry.

Andrea Constand alleges that Cosby gave her small, blue pills and a glass of wine, which rendered her immobile and unable to speak. She woke up to Cosby assaulting her, and she was limp and unable to speak, she testified on Friday.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

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