Current, former Temple employees testify at Cosby trial

Marguerite Jackson, an academic adviser for the Boyer College of Music and Dance, testified Wednesday claiming that Andrea Constand had a plan to accuse a wealthy man of sexual assault.

Bill Cosby (center) is escorted into the Montgomery County Courthouse on Wednesday morning. The former university trustee is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple emplyee Andrea Constand in 2004. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / FILE PHOTO

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby’s key witness Marguerite Jackson, a current Boyer College of Music and Dance academic adviser, took the stand Wednesday at the former university trustee’s sexual assault retrial.

Jackson claims that Andrea Constand, the central accuser in the case, told her in 2004 that she could accuse a high-profile man of sexual assault for money.

The defense has consistently tried to portray Constand as a money-grubbing liar who took advantage of a lonely celebrity.

In 2004, Jackson, who was then the academic adviser for the women’s basketball team, said she was sharing a Rhode Island hotel room with Constand — the team’s director of operations at the time — at an away game when Constand allegedly disclosed her plan.  

“I could say it did,” Constand allegedly told Jackson about a made-up assault. “I could quit my job and get that money.”

Jackson was barred from testifying at Cosby’s first sexual assault trial in June 2017, which ended in a mistrial. Constand has said she does not remember sharing a hotel room with Jackson.

Before Jackson took the stand, the prosecution closed its case — except for one expert witness who will testify on Thursday — by reading jurors Cosby’s 2005 civil suit deposition, in which he admits to giving women quaaludes before having sex with them.

Cosby said he gave out the pills “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink,’” according to the deposition. Cosby also said that he never used the pills himself because they made him “sleepy.”

Cosby was represented by Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor in the suit, which resulted in a nearly $3.4 million payout for Constand, who has accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in his Montgomery County home in January 2004.

The prosecution spent the rest of the day pointing out inconsistencies in the testimonies of the defense’s witnesses during cross-examination.

Several times, prosecutor Stewart Ryan said defense attorney Kathleen Bliss “created” Jackson’s January 2018 statement because it contained new details not found in her first statement given in 2016.

Bliss’ many objections to Ryan use of the word “create” were overruled by Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O’Neill.

Jackson claimed that, as the women basketball team’s academic adviser, she would travel with Constand and the team on trips that were paid for entirely by the university. She said she does not recall filling out expense reports for these trips.  

To show that Jackson may not have been with the team at the Rhode Island away game in 2004, Ryan presented travel expense reports that she filed in 2003. Jackson did not file any reports in 2004 when she said she shared a hotel room with Constand.   

The defense also called former Temple employee Pamela Gray-Young, who was an office manager for the women’s basketball team from 1999 to 2008.

Last week, Constand testified that Cosby would call her office at Temple to discuss the basketball team. Gray-Young testified that all calls to the office would have gone through her first, and she never forwarded any calls from Cosby to Constand.

She told jurors that Constand was health-conscious and holistic — something that Constand said her and Cosby often discussed during their phone calls and dinners together.

Wednesday ended with testimony from John Conrad St. Marthe, Cosby’s former chef, and Charles Kipps, who is a writer and worked with Cosby on several movies and television series in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

St. Marthe cooked for Cosby and his family from 1990 to 2003. He traveled to and from Cosby’s homes in Montgomery County, Los Angeles, New York City and Massachusetts.

He told jurors that he met Constand three to fives times during the fall of 2002 and spring 2003. He said he never saw any physical intimate contact between the two.

Kipps short testimony lasted about 30 minutes, as he detailed several dinners he had with Constand to discuss her interest in sports broadcasting. Constand testified that Cosby set up these meetings because he wanted her to pursue a career in that field.

Constand described her relationship with Cosby as a mentor-mentee friendship during her testimony last week.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.

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