Cosby defense wins big after judge rulings on Tuesday

Bill Cosby (center) is escorted into the Montgomery County Courthouse last month. Cosby will be retried for sexual assault on April 9. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / FILE PHOTO

The amount of money Andrea Constand received from Bill Cosby in the 2005 civil suit may finally be released in Cosby’s upcoming sexual assault retrial, the Inquirer reported.

This settlement amount has never been disclosed to the public, but Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill ruled on Tuesday that the amount and details of the settlement agreement will be allowed in the trial.

This is a major win for Cosby’s defense, who have indicated they plan to portray Constand, the central accuser in the case, as a greedy woman who allegedly said she could falsely accuse a high-profile man for money.

Prosecutors believe this won’t hurt their case against Cosby because the settlement amount shows “how desperate he was to buy Constand’s silence,” the Inquirer reported.

However, O’Neill will not allow prosecutors to discuss the negotiation process during the civil suit, which resulted in the settlement amount for Constand, in the retrial.

Arguments in the retrial are expected to start April 9. Constand alleges Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in his Montgomery County home in 2004.

O’Neill will also allow current Temple employee Marguerite Jackson to testify during the retrial. Jackson claims Constand, who is a former university employee, told her she could falsely accuse a wealthy man of sexual assault for money.

O’Neill’s decision earlier this month to allow five other accusers to testify against against the former university trustee at the upcoming trial was another huge victory for the prosecution. They were only allowed to call one other woman to testify that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in the previous trial.

The judge’s decision on the 2005 civil suit came on the second day of jury selection for the retrial. By the end of the day on Tuesday, seven jurors were chosen to serve at the upcoming trial. A total of 12 people and six alternates will decide the fate of Cosby.

An additional 120 potential jurors were questioned in Norristown today, and 12 of those 120 will be brought in on Wednesday to be individually questioned and potentially fill the remaining 11 seats on the jury.

Jurors who were selected to serve include four men and three women as of Tuesday. All but two are white. All but one juror said that they have previous knowledge of the allegations against Cosby, but this would not stop them from being a fair juror.  

One juror is a middle-aged Black woman who claims that she or a close family member of hers is a survivor of sexual assault. Another is a white man in his 30s who has been convicted for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

More than two-thirds of the potential 120 jurors said they already had an opinion about Cosby’s guilt or innocence on Tuesday, the Inquirer reported.

On Monday, almost all of the 120 jurors said they have knowledge of the Me Too Movement and allegations of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.

Jury selection will continue Wednesday in Norristown.

O’Neill is expected to rule before the trial starts on whether he will allow Cosby’s testimony from the civil suit about him using Quaaludes to seduce women.

Kelly Brennan
can be reached at kelly.brennan@temple.edu Or you can follow Kelly on Twitter @_kellybrennan Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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